Jay McCarthy celebrates his stage two win in the New Zealand Cycle Classic.
Jay McCarthy celebrates his stage two win in the New Zealand Cycle Classic. Contributed

McCarthy conquers New Zealand

JAY McCarthy is heading home to Maryborough for a couple of days of rest and relaxation.

The 19-year-old cyclist deserves it after his impressive performances over the past couple of weeks.

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A week after winning a King of the Mountain stage during a World Tour event, the Tour Down Under in South Australia, the talented McCarthy has conquered New Zealand.

He's ridden his way to the biggest win of his fledgling career after winning the New Zealand Cycle Classic, the country's premier cycle race.

Riding for the Jayco-AIS team during the five-day, five-stage Tour, McCarthy held off the challenge from the some of the best cyclists in the business including those in the BikeNZ team, to claim victory.

The BikeNZ team used the Tour as part of their Olympic preparations.

McCarthy, a member of the Fraser Coast Cycling Club, wore the yellow jersey and held a 3sec lead heading into Sunday's final stage, a 112km race in and around Palmerston North.

He finished inside the top five in the bunch sprint to the line but he'd done enough to extend his lead to 9sec over his closest rival, fellow countryman Darren Lap-thorne.

To cap off a memorable week, McCarthy also won the under-23 division while his team finished first overall as well.

It comes as no surprise that McCarthy said he was pleased with how things had gone in New Zealand.

"I'm very happy to come away with the win. It's been a great tour," the former Aldridge State High School student, said.

"It's certainly a great way to start the season and my form is good.

"Saying that, I'm fortunate enough to have a great team support me - my teammates did everything for me during that final stage."

But will he stay off his bike during his time off?

"I doubt it," he laughed.

"I'll do some recovery rides."

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