• Jay McCarthy and Cadel Evans (Getty)Source: Getty
Cadel Evans hopes Sunday's win in his namesake race proves a career turning point for fellow Australian Jay McCarthy.

29 Jan 2018 - 9:58 AM  UPDATED 29 Jan 2018 - 10:15 AM

Cadel Evans hopes Jay McCarthy's outstanding win proves a watershed moment in his cycling career.

On Sunday, McCarthy made history with his win in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. 

While three of the four winners of the women's race are Australian, McCarthy is the first local rider to take out the men's event. 

McCarthy wins Cadel Evans race
Jay McCarthy has taken out a small bunch sprint to be the first Australian winner of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race

McCarthy normally has domestique duties in the Bora-hansgrohe team, especially in support of three-time world champion Peter Sagan. But he has undoubted talent, having won a stage of Adelaide's Tour Down Under in 2016 and finishing third overall in last year's race.

After McCarthy finished second in the road race at the Australian championships earlier this month, he could not pull off a breakthrough result at the Tour Down Under. Instead, he had the biggest win of his career on Sunday in Geelong.

Sagan returned to Europe after winning a stage at the Tour Down Under, meaning McCarthy had the team's full backing on Sunday.

And Evans, the only Australian to win the Tour de France, likes McCarthy's potential.

"Jay is a guy who's been there, he is a consistent performer, but he hasn't had a big breakthrough," Evans said.

"Hopefully this is just the floodgates opening for him - a big confidence boost for himself, but also for his team's (confidence) in him.

"I say congratulations to Bora-Hansgrohe for seeing his potential and sending a guy like Daniel Oss here to set him up for what of course is another WorldTour victory for them."

Oss, from Italy, was a domestique for Evans at BMC before joining Bora-Hansgrohe.

He was with McCarthy in the lead group at the end of Sunday's 164km race and played a pivotal role in the win by supporting the Australian. As a larger chase group closed in on the leaders, McCarthy had the energy to launch a sprint.

Sprint ace Elia Viviani exploded from the second group, but McCarthy held him off and the Italian was runner-up.

"Jay is a super-deserving winner," Evans said.

"He came from the front group and normally they wouldn't be able to contest the (final) sprint because of the energy expended.

"He owes big thanks to my ex-teammate and one of the best teammates you could have, Daniel Oss."

Earlier this month, McCarthy hinted Sagan may ride Amstel Gold, one of the Ardennes classics races which McCarthy will himself also target. 

McCarthy set for season WorldTour start with Sagan along for the ride
Jay McCarthy has hinted world champion teammate Peter Sagan may make a long-awaited return to the Ardennes Classics this year.

It was a big weekend for Australian cycling, with Chloe Hosking winning the women's race on Saturday.

Hosking wins Deakins Women's Race and Comm Games slot
Chloe Hosking has secured Commonwealth Games selection with her win in the Deakins Women's Race.

But above all else, Evans was rapt with the quality of the two races.

"For me, exciting, hard, competitive racing is the most important thing," he said.

Watch Jay McCarthy in the Ardennes with Sagan perhaps along for the ride right here on SBS with the Amstel Gold Race (15 April) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège (22 April) both LIVE. Times and channel TBC.