COULD this be the year Jay McCarthy claims a Tour Down Under title?
The Maryborough rider starts Australia's biggest cycling tour as one of the favourites for the ochre jersey, which is awarded to the overall winner of the general classification.
The former Aldridge State High School student said he was confident.
"My form is good and I feel I prepared pretty well,” he told the Chronicle.
"I hope I'm in a good position during the week.”
The 25-year-old made his Tour de France debut in 2017, and a strong performance in South Australia this week could pave the way to a bigger campaign this year.
McCarthy enters the tour in hot form, after he finished second at the Cycling Australia Road National Championships in Ballarat on January 7.
While happy to take home a silver medal, he was disappointed to have been so close to a national title. It forms part of his motivation for the TDU.
He was 24th overall at the TDU's People's Choice Classic on Sunday evening, as his BORA-hansgrohe teammate Sagan claimed line honours. The three-time UCI World Road Race champion, could support McCarthy's quest for a breakthrough title.
"It will be up to me to go for a general overall result, but (traditionally) me and Peter will be looked after by the team,” he said.
"I'll have to be in the right position and making sure I have good legs for the hilly stages (2, 4 and 5).”
McCarthy, who is the only Australian rider for BORA-hansgrohe, has strong form at the TDU.
He finished fourth overall and claimed the young rider's jersey in 2016.
In 2017 he was just 51 seconds behind winner and Australian BMC Racing Team rider Richie Porte, who will start Tuesday's first stage as the clear favourite.
TOUR DOWN UNDER
at Adelaide, South Australia.
Stage 1: Port Adelaide to Lyndoch, 145km
Stage 2: Unley to Stirling, 148.6km
Stage 3: Glenelg to Victor Harbour, 146.5km
Stage 4: Norwood to Uraidla, 128.2km
Stage 5: McLaren Vale to Wilunga Hill, 151.5km
Stage 6: Adelaide circuit, 90km
Stages 1-3, 5 and 6 are shown live on Channel 9. Stage 4 is live on 9GEM.
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