Jay McCarthy wins the Cadel Evans Race in a thrilling finale
The fourth edition of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race saw some of the toughest racing of the season so far. With the mercury hitting 40 degrees, conditions were testing, particularly during the last third of the course, which featured several short yet steep climbs. The race came down to the wire, with a small group of riders escaping in the final kilometres, and Jay McCarthy emerging victorious from this reduced group.
Of the 164 km long route, the first 105 km took the riders through a large coastal loop around Barwon Heads, Torquay and Bells Beach, before heading back in the direction of Geelong and ending with three 16.7 km long laps of the finishing circuit in Geelong. The course, which bears similarity to the one which was used during the 2010 UCI Road World Championships, started out fairly flat, yet became gradually more challenging and undulating. The hilly parcours also featured the famed Challambra Crescent climb, a 900-metre long ascent with a maximum gradient of 22%, which the riders had to face a total of four times.
The Team Tactics
Given how the last three editions of the race panned out, it was widely expected that the winner would come from a reduced group or even be a rider who managed to escape from a select group towards the finish. In the earlier part of the course around the coast, there were no climbs that were expected to be of sufficient difficulty to cause a split in the field. However, it was anticipated that the wind could potentially come into play between Barwon Heads and Bells Beach. One crucial point in the race was also likely to be the Challambra Crescent climb, which is where Peter Kennaugh made a decisive move in the 2016 edition of the race that arguably won him the day. For riders and their teams still in the mix at this point, it would be important to keep a watch on this crucial part of the race to avoid seeing their chances of victory slip away on the climb.
It was a day of fast-paced racing straight from the start. Right from the get-go, the attacks came thick and fast, with a select group of 5 riders escaping from the peloton. They worked together well and quickly built up a significant advantage within the first few kilometres of racing, with their lead stretching to 6:40 minutes at one point. After the chase was put on in earnest by the peloton, the gap was reduced to approximately 2 minutes with 25 km remaining. As the breakaway came closer to being caught, several riders jumped off the front of the peloton during the last 20 km, yet to no avail. The break was ultimately caught with 15km remaining. A small group of riders subsequently escaped from the bunch in the final few kilometres, with Jay McCarthy ultimately surpassing E. Viviani and D. Impey in the final stretch to take the win for BORA-hansgrohe at the end of a very testing and hot day in the saddle.
01 J. McCarthy 4:04:00
02 E. Viviani +0:00
03 D. Impey +0:00
04 D. Devenyns +0:00
05 S. Gerrans +0:00
From the Finish Line
“In this race, everything went well. I was a bit disappointed with my performance at the Tour Down Under, but I came with confidence to Geelong and wanted to achieve a good result. It was good that Daniel was with me in the last kilometre. We had Chaves and Viviani on our heels and it motivated me to have a teammate there in the final. I’m really happy to end my racing in Australia in this way.” – Jay McCarthy
“This was a fantastic victory for BORA-hansgrohe, and of course for Jay, who unfortunately wasn’t able to climb on the podium at the Tour Down Under. He and the team worked exceptionally hard and today they received the success we had really hoped for. We are happy to leave Australia's shores with this additional win to our name.” – Steffen Radochla