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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Cyclists set up exciting finish

McCarthy upstages guns in Nagambie but Clarke wins Jayco Herald Sun Tour.

CHALPAT SONTI February 13, 2014 12:41pm

The chase - the peloton makes its way through the subway at Seymour at high speed, still more than a minute down on now solo leader, Australian Chris Jory.


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Some of the world’s best professional cyclists made light of a scorching day and some rugged (and scenic) terrain to put on a show in our region on Saturday.

It was the third stage of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, Australia’s oldest stage race, and an event with a finish to match the action during 156km of frantic cycling.

And it turned out to be the final stage, with the fire risk on Sunday leading to the final stage on the Mornington Peninsula being called off.

Beginning at Mitchelton Winery, Saturday’s course went through Avenel, Seymour, Highlands (for two climbs), a sprint at Trawool, back through Seymour, up Northwood Rd past the winery before finishing before a large crowd outside Nagambie Lakes Entertainment Centre.

And while there were plenty of big names, including the Orica-GreenEdge pair of tour winner Simon Clarke and Mansfield maestro Simon Gerrans, it was a relative unknown who upstaged everyone in Saturday’s stage.

Jayco Australian under-23 rider Robert-John McCarthy held his nerve best in a sprint finish, peeling off with about 250m to go to score what turned out to be a relatively soft win in a multinational finish.

The Irish-born Australian held off New Zealander Rico Rogers and Irishman Felix English and was stunned by the biggest win of his career.

‘‘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.’’

Another Aussie, Chris Jory, was awarded the most aggressive ride of the day.

He was part of a seven-man breakaway which got the jump at the start and then broke clear himself to lead the field through Seymour the second time around.

There was a crash near Mitchelton the second time around which claimed Pat Shaw, and it was also an eventful few minutes for Garmin Sharp sprinter Steele Von Hoff.

He appeared to be out of business when falling in the crash but remarkably got back on his bike and was ready to sprint for stage honours a few kilometres later.

However, he was one of a handful of riders who mistook a banner over the road near the Black Caviar statue for the finish line and while ‘‘winning’’ that sprint, was left to rue the actual finish from back in the bunch.

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