Directeur Sportif of the BORA-hansgrohe team, Patxi Vila, has expressed satisfaction with the team’s performance which saw them net a podium finish and come close to a number of stage wins.
Going into the final stage, Jay McCarthy was just a few seconds off a podium spot and in taking the first intermediate sprint, the Australian rider moved into third position on GC. McCarthy was led out by World Champion Peter Sagan for the sprint on lap 8, and took the win and with it three extra seconds in the GC contest.
Speeds were high from the start, with riders hitting a little under 50km/h in the early laps alone. While there were attempts at breakaways, the peloton was never far behind. At the second intermediate sprint, a small break managed to hold out in front to take all of the bonuses, but McCarthy had managed to jump into a podium spot with his efforts on lap 8 and just had to hold his advantage until the finale and finish safely.
With just 16 seconds separating the break and the bunch on lap 16, it was only a matter of time until the break was caught. The sprint teams were now controlling the pace and the gap came down steadily as the tempo rose in the bunch. With the catch made on lap 18, it was all going to come down to the sprint. The twists and turns of the street course, that had been relatively safe the previous 19 laps suddenly took on a different character, with the furious pace making every turn treacherous. Coming from more than ten wheels back and jostling hard for position, Sagan came in second behind Caleb Ewan (Orica Scott) after an all-out effort for the line.
Directeur Sportif Patxi Vila, had nothing but praise for the team after a strong first race of the season. “It was a fantastic ride for the team. We wanted to put Jay on the podium and that was the first objective of the day, and we achieved that thanks to great teamwork. Jay was fantastic beating Caleb Ewan in the intermediate sprint, taking three seconds and jumping onto the podium. In the final, Caleb was strong and Peter put in an amazing sprint for second. All the management are really happy with the performance of the team and it was a really nice week for us.”
McCarthy had acknowledged earlier in the race the importance of collecting bonus seconds throughout the week and was thrilled with his podium position after a race calculated to perfection. “I’m super happy – we had the plan to go for the intermediate in the team meeting this morning and it worked. I have to thank the team so much – we controlled it from the start and made sure the breakaway wasn’t gone for the intermediate. Having the current World Champion, Peter Sagan, leading me out, is bloody awesome, so I’m really happy I’m on the podium.”
After a week of not only contesting the sprints, but also working to support Jay McCarthy in his GC campaign, the UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, enjoyed his first race of the calendar. “It was a really good race for us. I heard that every year the race is getting more difficult, and it gets harder to win stages, but I think I had a really good week and I enjoyed being here.”
The team remains in Australia to contest the second edition of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, with races on Thursday and Sunday in Melbourne and Geelong.