Jay McCarthy is set to return to the Giro d’Italia in 2019 and embrace a dynamic role within a provisionally selected BORA-hansgrohe squad that has already made headlines.
20 Dec 2018 - 10:23 AM  UPDATED 20 Dec 2018 - 10:24 AM

McCarthy last competed at the Giro in 2016 and the race will be the main feature of a blockbuster blueprint the Australian has outlined for early next season.

Sam Bennett won three stages at the Giro for BORA-hansgrohe this year and had hoped to return in 2019. But the Irish sprinter has been overlooked for 24-year-old up and comer and German national champion Pascal Ackermann.

Bennett earlier this month lamented his exclusion may be down to nationality and the influence of German sponsors, which team management denied.

“If I was German I think I’d discussing doing some sprints in the Tour de France but I don’t know…There’s nothing I can do,” he told Cyclingnews.

McCarthy wasn’t selected for the Tour de France this year after making a strong debut in 2017, and so could sympathise with Bennett’s general disappointment but didn’t buy into a discussion on team politics.

“Ackermann showed in the last 12 months that he is a super sprinter and he is going to have a chance to go to the Giro. As I understand, Rafal Majka will go as the GC contender,” McCarthy said.

“We have a pure sprinter with Pascal but hopefully there will be a couple of chances there for me in the Giro, on the shorter climb finishes and small bunch kicks that I can normally go for.”

McCarthy featured at the Shimano Super Crit on Sunday that served as training with BORA-hansgrohe allowing him to stay and prepare for the new season in Australia, over travelling to wintry European camps.

“It’s going well, just building up the kilometres and getting ready for another hopefully good January of racing,” he said.

Australia's McCarthy wins Basque tour third stage
Australian Jay McCarthy (BORA-hansgrohe) won Wednesday's third stage of the Itzulia Basque Country in a sprint finish, as Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) retained the race leader's yellow jersey.

McCarthy had a solid run of form through the Australian summer cycling season this year. He claimed a silver medal at the national road race championships behind Alex Edmondson (Mitchelton-Scott), animated and worked for an in-form Peter Sagan at an especially hot Santos Tour Down Under, and then took line honours at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

In Europe, he continued to balance his own ambition with that of star teammates and won stage three of the Tour of the Basque Country.

“I was a little bit disappointed myself to miss out on the Tour de France but I understood as well that they [the team] wanted me at the Vuelta,” McCarthy recalled of his 2018 season.

“I had a decent Vuelta but unfortunately I had a bit of sickness just before and was missing a little bit that I thought I could have had. Peter stayed the whole time anyway, so I did a fairly big job for him on the days that suited him.

"For my own chances, I probably missed out a little bit. But I think the Vuelta was pretty successful as in what I felt achieved and did for the team. I was happy with the end of the year.”

The 26-year-old is immediately eyeing a return to the Santos Tour Down Under next month in which he has overall ambitions and will again work alongside champion teammate Sagan.

“The team gives me the opportunity to go for being a leader there. We bring Peter and stages that suit him we’ll work for him, but if I can have a crack at the overall I’ll be happy to do so again,” McCarthy said.

“After I finish the Australian program, I’ll go to an altitude training camp in Sierra Nevada and it will be pretty similar to last year with Catalunya and Pays Basque. Then I’ll do the Ardennes Classics and at this stage, I’m down to do the Giro. It’s a pretty solid start to the season but after a little bit of rest in February and then training again I think I’ll be good.”

WorldTour riders go head-to-head at Bay Crits
Caleb Ewan will unveil his new Lotto-Soudal team colours as 2014 champion Brenton Jones (Delko Marseille Provence KTM) leads a Lexus All-Stars squad at the Bay Criterium series on New Year's day.