• "The week is not finished": Tour Down Under leader Jay McCarthy after his victory in Stirling. (AFP)Source: AFP
He wasn't really considered a contender before - but is Jay McCarthy about to carve himself a slice of TDU history, wonders Anthony Tan?
Cycling Central
21 Jan 2016 - 12:52 AM  UPDATED 21 Jan 2016 - 9:55 AM

Wikipedia defines McCarthyism as "the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence".

"His previous GC results provide no portent of what may be coming: 48th (2012), 56th (2013), and, most recently, 99th (2014)."

Subversion originates from the Latin word 'subvertere', meaning 'to turn from below'.

Before the race began, if Jay McCarthy - who, until Wednesday at the Tour Down Under had just one WorldTour podium place - never mind an actual victory! - to his name in his three years as a professional - told you he would not only win the second stage to Stirling, but finish on the overall podium, one might call it an act of 20th century McCarthyism.

Prior to Wednesday, McCarthy's placings on the stage to Stirling were as follows: 48th (2012), 65th (2013), and 112th (2014).

Equally, his previous GC results at the Tour Down Under provide no portent of what may be coming: 48th (2012), 56th (2013), and, most recently, 99th (2014).

That didn't stop the man from Maryborough, Queensland hatching a plan over the summer with his Tinkoff sport directors, telling them that by the third week of January 2016, he would be in red-hot form. Stage-winning form. Race-winning form, maybe.

Never mind what he'd done in the past - the past is the past, as they say.

"I've done this stage for a few years now so we certainly had a plan," McCarthy, following a glorious win in Stirling, said, pipping Diego Ulissi (Lampre–Merida) and defending champion Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) in a chaotic finale that saw two-time champion Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) go down along with seven other riders. (Gerrans was awarded bunch time, as the crash occurred inside the final kilometre.)

TDU victory for Queensland's McCarthy
Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff) lunged over the line to win Stage 2 of the Santos Tour Down Under on a day that was dominated by a long solo break by fellow Queenslander, Adam Hansen (Lotto-Soudal).

Fifth in the nationals at Buninyong - "The nationals will be a very good form indicator" he said before the race - and third overall behind winner Kristijan Durasek of Lampre-Merida and Eduardo Sepulveda of Bretagne-Séché at last year's Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey, his best GC result to date, he said Wednesday of his Tour Down Under hopes, "This year coming into this race I was in very good shape, and before the start today I was hoping to be given a chance."

To which his Tinkoff sport director Sean Yates obliged: "We knew he was in good shape... and we worked for him today."

"The team supported me fully and I'm also given a chance to go for GC this week as well," said McCarthy. "It's great to come out and get the victory today but the week is not finished (and) I hope to recover for Corkscrew (climb) tomorrow (Thursday)."

Affirmed Yates of supporting his young charge's ambitions: "We now have the lead, and we are not just going to say, okay, we've won a stage, we're happy. We know that BMC and Orica are the teams here racing for the victory, and we can try to use that to our advantage."

His palmarès may not be stacked with top results though website ProCyclingStats rates McCarthy, still only 23 years young, as overwhelmingly a GC rider.

Today's 139 kilometre stage from Glenelg to Campbelltown, featuring the infamously named Corkscrew climb - not to mention the hair-raising descent that follows - in the final 10km, will undoubtedly be his hardest test till Saturday's decisive stage around Willunga.

By Sunday, we are sure to discover his bona fides as a week-long stage race contender.

Can Jay, together with his Tinkoff team, continue to turn the Tour Down Under on its head?

How far will Jay McCarthy go at the TDU?
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