Tour Down Under: what Jay had to say
We spoke with the Australian who was best placed on GC after four stages – and his directeur sportif – after the stage. Jay McCarthy isn’t happy about dropping off the podium but it’s not the end of the world.
It was a day when Richie won (again) and Daryl took the leader’s jersey from Peter. It was when Jay was good but then, 600m later, he was demoralised. It was when Mitchelton-Scott celebrated and BMC Racing could feel satisfied.
It is when Australian cycling comes to prominence. It is stage five of the Santos Tour Down Under.
Below are some comments from people associated with what is a great day of racing.
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Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe)
RIDE: It’s a bit of a shame, you did everything you could. You stayed with Richie for a long time…
Jay McCarthy: “Yeah, that was the plan. I was on the podium last year and this year we were in a position to fight for the overall. Obviously, with Peter in the lead and me in third overall before the day started…
“This morning’s plan was that I would try and follow Richie. And he attacked where he normally attacks and I tried and, what can I say? I didn’t have the legs and I exploded with about 600 metres to go.
“I gave it everything and it’s a bit of a disappointment.”
(Note: In the background, Peter Sagan is taunting him… “Why do you always lie to the radio?” “Tell them the truth…”)
“And, ah… Sagan should have been in that second group but he wasn’t so, there we go.”
And when it was lights out, it was lights out?
“When the wind is up it’s always a bit nervous coming into the final laps but we stayed pretty calm and, coming into the final lap, we still had four guys to put myself and Peter in good position.”
While you were on Richie’s wheel did you think you could hold it for a little while?
“I was just hoping that he’d settle more into a rhythm but he just goes! So, I was already on my limit and probably wasn’t on the same sort of day that I was feeling yesterday so it’s a bit of a shame but that’s what a week of racing does.
“And, for me to achieve the podium position, I had to fight for sprints earlier in the week too so it all adds up. But, at the end of the week, I’ve tried everything and there’s always next year.”
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Patxi Villa (directeur sportif, Bora-Hansgrohe)
RIDE: Your team has earned some headlines. You’ve got a stage win and it looked like Jay had everything that he needed to do done… and then it was 600m too far.
Patxi Villa: “Well, yeah that’s cycling.
“We got Jay on the podium last year but this year I think he stepped up as a rider so it’s fair enough to try to win.
“He could sit on the wheels and probably get to the podium but we just wanted to win the race and we played that card knowing that it’s really hard because Richie knows – really well – this climb and he knows where to attack. We knew it and we did everything perfectly.
“The team rode perfect the whole day. We did our strategy but that’s sport. He was stronger than us today.”
You can’t be disappointed to lose to Richie Porte. He’s a phenomenal bike rider. But you told me last night that you’re a “numbers man”. I’d like to see the power file for Jay today – it would be interesting.
“Yeah, for sure. It will be a nice three or four minutes. Last year he got really good numbers here and this year, I think, probably until he exploded he was better.
“But then he exploded and that’s it.
“It’s really hard to hold Richie’s wheel. We knew that but we tried anyway.”
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Matt White (directeur sportif, Mitchelton-Scott)
RIDE: It says ‘same time’ on the results…
Matt White: “It doesn’t matter, we’re winning on count-back.”
Well done Matthew White.
Three second places on the day that matters…
“Yeah, well Daryl has proven that he’s the best rider here – the most consistent, hasn’t he?
Yes. Second in a sprint, second in a mountain stage – you could call it – and second in hill-top finish.
“Yep. I said at the start of the week and I’ll say it again: he’s the most versatile rider on our roster and he’s certainly taken it to another level this year.
“He’s got a big opportunity to just fill the shoes of some of the guys who have left and he’s certainly taken it with two hands.”
And the mood in the car? What were you telling him?
“Oh, we knew our plan. We knew we couldn’t react with the guys at the bottom of the climb. And having Cam Meyer there to help him through the middle section was great.
“We just had to come back and make sure he finished as close as possible to Richie. And he did a maximum effort and to pick up those bonuses is what has nearly won him the tour.”