Sun Tour Report: English 3rd on stage 3


Felix English 3rd on stage 3 as Irish born 19 year old Robert-John McCarthy wins whilst Simon Clarke holds on to leaders jersey

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Unheralded 19-year-old sprinter Robert-John McCarthy has upset a cast of highly fancied riders, to claim a frantic bunch sprint in the Jayco Herald Sun Tour’s 156 kilometre third stage from Mitchelton Winery to Nagambie.

Migrating to Australia with his family seven years ago from Ireland, McCarthy, who has spent the last couple of domestic seasons in the shadow of Australian sprint wunderkind Caleb Ewan, said this was the most significant win of his fledgling career.

Meanwhile in the general classification, Orica-GreenEDGE’s Simon Clarke preserved his advantage at the head of the bike race crossing eleventh on the stage to hold his eight second lead over former Olympic rower Cameron Wurf (Cannondale Pro Cycling)

For Clarke’s teammate Matthew Goss it was a case of what could have been, as a slipped chain at 200 metres to go ended his chances of stage win. McCarthy too was lucky to be in a position to challenge at the finish, forced to veer off the road to narrowly avoid a crash caused by a clash of wheels that toppled Garmin-Sharp sprint ace Steele Von Hoff and forced KordaMentha Real Estate – Team Australia’s Pat Shaw to abandon 13 kilometres from the stage finish.

In a Tour that was intended as a learning experience for McCarthy, it was the Jayco Australia U23 Team rider that handed his opponents a lesson on getting to the line.
“I knew I have the speed, for me the hard part was just getting to the line with those established lead out trains,” said McCarthy, who’s most significant victory prior to today was a junior national road race title in 2012 ahead of Ewan.

“It’s really hard when you’re not in one of those established teams to earn the respect of those guys, but I hope I have done that now. “I had to fight really, really hard for position and I decided I was going to be the last guy of someone’s train.”

“I saw Jonathan Cantwell with about one kilometre and a half to go and I just jumped on his wheel and waited and waited, and then moved around maybe 250m to go and just went for it, and held on for the line.”

Admitting himself to being a relative unknown in the race, McCarthy’s reaction to upstaging some of world cycling’s elite in Nagambie was that of shock. “I know I’m a good sprinter, but when you look at the field here it’s some of the best in the world,” McCarthy said.

“I just came here to try and learn from those guys and I just found myself in a good position. I crossed the line and I couldn’t believe it. I’m a bit speechless to be honest.”

While McCarthy’s post race reaction was that of elation, it was a focussed Clarke that spoke after the stage about his Orica GreenEDGE’s team’s defence of his yellow jersey.

“The objective is to keep yellow by the end of tomorrow, so we rode with that tactic,” Clarke said. “I hardly touched the pedals all day today, the boys did a great job.”

“Mitch [Docker] and Damien [Howson] were really strong today and they had everything under control, so no stress for me whatsoever.”

Sticking to the script of execution, Clarke said he would be wary of general classification challengers Wurf and Jack Haig (Avanti Cycling Team), but would be more intent on riding his own race in Sunday’s final 124 kilometre stage.

“We’ll ride to our plan, I’ve got Gerro by my side who is a great climber, so I just need to stick close to him and we’ll work together and work on our team plan,” said Clarke.

“If people attack us, we can adjust that plan, but we’ll be on our own path. They’re both dangerous, there’s no reason to decipher who’s going to be more dangerous, they both are.”

Earlier in the stage, seven riders were quick to ride off the peloton at the fall of the flag, joined shortly after by an eighth rider in Kristian Juel of Team Budget Forklifts.

Seemingly lacking the grit and tenacity of yesterday’s break led by Clarke, a catch seemed inevitable, however surprisingly four riders from the initial group held together until the catch occurred inside five kilometres to the finish in Nagambie.

The break held close to four minutes over the main field approaching the foot of the first Budget Forklifts King of the Mountain climb through the Strathbogie Ranges at 55 kilometres travelled, with the break still holding two minutes 40 second advantage at the top of the second King of the Mountain a further 12 kilometres later.

It was the WorldTour teams Orica-GreenEDGE, Garmin-Sharp and Cannondale Pro Cycling that did the bulk of the work on the open roads to reduce the gap to a comfortable margin off the climbs, before really tightening the screws 25 kilometres from home.

Podium finisher from stage two Jack Haig remained in the State Government of Victoria White Jersey, while Thomas Hamilton (Jayco Australia U23 National Team) maintained the Budget Forklift King of the Mountain Jersey.

Claiming sprint points as part of the break, Drapac Professional Cycling Jack Anderson claimed the Chain Reaction Cycles Green Jersey from race leader Clarke, while Chris Jory (KordaMentha Real Estate – Team Australia) was awarded the Subaru Orange Most Aggressive Jersey for his work in initiating the break.

Stage Result
1 MCCARTHY Robert Jayco U23 National Team 03:47:09
2 ROGERS Rico OCBC Singapore Continental Cycling Team
3 ENGLISH Felix Rapha Condor JLT
4 MENZIES Karl UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team
5 KLEMME Daniel Synergy Baku Cycling Project
6 SCULLY Thomas New Zealand
7 LOW Ji Wen OCBC Singapore Continental Cycling Team
8 BOIVIN Guillaume Cannondale
9 WURF Cameron Cannondale
10 VON HOFF Steele Garmin Sharp

11 CLARKE Simon Orica GreenEDGE
21 DAVIES Scott Great Britain
25 BURTON Germain Great Britain
26 GOSS Matthew Orica GreenEDGE
28 LAWLESS Christopher Great Britain
41 GERRANS Simon Orica GreenEDGE
42 WITMITZ Sam Team Budget Forklifts
48 ANDERSON Jack Drapac Professional Cycling
51 NORRIS Lachlan Drapac Professional Cycling
52 LAPTHORNE Darren Drapac Professional Cycling
59 CUMING Michael Rapha Condor JLT
60 O’ BRIEN Mark Avanti Cycling Team
61 HANDLEY Richard Rapha Condor JLT
63 MOSES Thomas Rapha Condor JLT
66 BAUER Jack Garmin Sharp
78 OPIE Christopher Rapha Condor JLT 00:54
85 CARTHY Hugh Rapha Condor JLT 04:56

1 CLARKE Simon Orica GreenEDGE 10:59:17
2 WURF Cameron Cannondale 00:08
3 HAIG Jack Avanti Cycling Team 00:11
4 HAAS Nathan Garmin Sharp 01:09
5 VAN DER PLOEG Neil Avanti Cycling Team 01:21
6 CANTWELL Jonathan Drapac Professional Cycling
7 GERRANS Simon Orica GreenEDGE 01:22
8 O’ SHEA Glenn KordaMentha Team Australia 01:23
9 MEYER Cameron Orica GreenEDGE
10 CLARKE William Drapac Professional Cycling
11 DOCKER Mitchell Orica GreenEDGE 01:24
12 CLEMENTS Alex Jayco U23 National Team 01:28
13 CARPENTER Harry Jayco U23 National Team
14 NORRIS Lachlan Drapac Professional Cycling
15 BOIVIN Guillaume Cannondale 01:29
16 ROE Thimothy Team Budget Forklifts 01:30
17 LAPTHORNE Darren Drapac Professional Cycling 01:31
18 GILLETT Rhys African Wildlife Safaris Cycling Team
19 POWER Robert Jayco U23 National Team
20 WATSON Calvin KordaMentha Team Australia 01:32


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