Queensland teenager Jay McCarthy has continued his successful run in Europe with victory in the sixth stage of the Tour de Bretagne in France.
The 19 year old Jayco-AIS rider won the 145 kilometre stage from Douarnenez to Lannion in a time of 3:29:11, two seconds head of second placed Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA) with Norwegian Vegard Bugge third.
"Today's uphill stage finish suited Jay's dynamic sprinting ability," said Cycling Australia Under 23 Men's Road Coach, James Victor. "It was a long wet wait for a well deserved win today with the weather a little kinder, warming up to 11 degrees and a few showers throughout.
"But we finally had some dry roads when the stage entered the finishing circuit."
The stage was raced in a similar vein to the previous days with a breakaway group of five riders establishing a two minutes lead on the peloton which was controlled by the Bretagne Schuler team of Tour leader Eric Berthou (FRA).
The race came back together for the final three laps of the 5.6 kilometre finishing circuit. The race then headed down a technical, rough two kilometre descent onto a long flat section along the river before a steep one kilometre climb to the finish at around 10 to 15 percent gradient.
"As the race arrived onto the circuit, Jay protected himself well in the bunch and then, after seeing the circuit for the first time, moved himself closer to the front for the final two laps, confident this was his best chance for a stage win this week," said Victor.
There were several attacks as the race hit the final two kilometre climb with Berthou accelerating hard 400 metres from the line. Van Rensburg launched his attack 200 metres from the finish but McCarthy chased hard on his back wheel and passed him comfortably for the win.
In January McCarthy won a stage and overall honours in the New Zealand Cycle Classic and last month in Italy he won the Trofeo Piva Banca Popolare di Vicenza before heading to the Toscana Terra di Ciclismo where he wrapped up the points and best young rider classifications and won a stage.
McCarthy, who was also on the podium with a third place in the fourth stage to Mur de Bretagne, now sits 20th overall, 1:34 off the race lead ahead of tomorrow's relatively flat final stage over 165 kilometres from Langonnet to Dinan. It finishes with five laps of a brutal six kilometre circuit that includes a final uphill kilometre of each lap on cobblestones.
Campbell Flakemore had another good solid day, and just one stage remains for him to complete his first European stage race.
The Australian national team for the Tour Bretagne is Nick Aitken, Aaron Donnelly, Damien Howson and Jay McCarthy who all ride with Jayco-AIS along with Campbell Flakemore.
Atrocious weather conditions and fatigure in the wake of the Toscana event saw Howson withdraw while Aitken and Donnelly did not finish in the time limit on stage one.
The first stage of Bretagne wasn't kind to McCarthy who, with Flakemore, was caught behind when the race split and that cruelled his chance of vying for overall honours.