Local knowledge could be a big advantage when the second stage of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour rolls into town on Friday afternoon, according to Bendigo cyclist Shaun McCarthy.
The 147.7km stage begins outside Rupertswood Mansion in Sunbury at 11.30am and ends at the Tom Flood Sports Centre between 3pm and 4pm.
But a category five climb at One Tree Hill about 15km before the finish line could be where the stage is won or lost.
“That last 15km it will be a huge advantage to know the run in, especially over One Tree Hill,” 26-year-old McCarthy said.
“I don’t know what it’s going to be like leading into One Tree Hill, whether it’s going to be five guys or 25 guys, but if you’ve got a bit of local knowledge knowing that climb, I think it’s going to be a big advantage to you.”
This year’s Tour will be McCarthy’s first and the Team Budget Forklifts rider, who hails from Heathcote, is gunning for at least one good stage result.
“I’d like to just possibly slip into a breakaway at some stage and do alright on a stage,” McCarthy said.
“A top-five would be a good result with the class of field we’ve got.”
McCarthy began riding for Team Budget Forklifts at the start of 2012, but missed most of the first six months after suffering a broken hip while descending Mount Alexander on a training ride.
His preparation for the Jayco Herald Sun Tour has been first-class, though, with the build-up including a gruelling camp at Jindabyne two weeks ago with his team-mates.
“It’s been a lead up of about two months doing long kilometres, obviously a bit of reconnaissance on the course itself and then the team got together for a training camp.
“We did about 1000km over seven days. I’ve had a pretty good preparation for the event.”
The hills around Jindabyne were a good test for the Team Budget Forklift riders, who will have to scale Arthur’s Seat twice in the third and final Tour stage on Sunday.
The Tour begins with a prologue in Williamstown on Thursday night, but McCarthy will warm up for the event with the three-day Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic beginning in Geelong today.
A one-hour criterium will be held at Portarlington tomorrow before winding up at Williamstown on the day of the prologue to the Tour.
McCarthy won two stages in the Bay Cycling support series last year.
– TRAVIS KING