• Jay McCarthy notches up his first win of the 2018 season. (Getty)Source: Getty
Jay McCarthy has taken out a small bunch sprint to be the first Australian winner of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race
Cycling Central

28 Jan 2018 - 4:17 PM  UPDATED 29 Jan 2018 - 10:03 AM

Jay McCarthy has broken the Australian cycling drought in the men's Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

The BORA-hansgrohe rider won the small bunch sprint in Geelong to take out the 164km race.

Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) was second and an in-form Daryl Impey (Mitchelton Scott) completed the podium in third place.

“In this race, everything went well," McCarthy said. "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 [Oss] was with me in the last kilometre. We had [Esteban] Chaves and Viviani on our heels and it motivated me to have a teammate there in the final."

McCarthy's win, in the fourth edition of the race, is the biggest of his career.

"I’m really happy to end my racing in Australia in this way,” he said. 

The race came down to a select group that also featured Simon Gerrans (BMC).

Impey's teammate Esteban Chaves attacked by himself with about two kilometres to go, but was caught inside the last kilometre.

A larger chase group was closing on the leaders fast at the finish, but McCarthy timed his sprint perfectly.

Alex Porter and Sam Welsford from the Kordamentha team, Lasse Norman Hansen (Aqua Blue Sport), Pavel Kochetkov (Katusha) and Robbert de Greef (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij) broke away at the start of the race.

Welsford and de Greef were dropped on the first steep climb at Challambra Crescent, the key feature of the finishing circuit that the race completed four times.

Porter went back to the peloton after winning the third intermediate sprint with 33km left.

Hansen and Kochetkov were caught on the last lap, 15.5km from the finish, and as expected the race broke apart on the last Challambra climb.