The Australian rider from Bora-Hansgrohe said that “this stage was a great opportunity to go for a victory”.
McCarthy also said he was “really happy” and that “it was a really good day” for him and the team. He also explained that “it all came to a bunch sprint and it was my chance to go for the victory. I had some good support from the boys in the final. We were riding all together, I had one team mate there to help me in the final - Gregor Mühlberger – who covered the moves in the last few kilometers and that also opened up the sprint for me. I went pretty early but I got to the line first”.
The GC remains unchanged in the top positions. Julian Alaphilippe is still in the lead and keeps the Yellow jersey. Primoz Roglic is second 8” behind, and Gorka Izagirre, third at 39”. Alaphilippe is also leading the points classifications but Roglic – second in classification- will be wearing the Green jersey at the start tomorrow.
Thomas De Gendt, who was a main part of today’s breakaway, was the first rider to cross the three mountain passes of the stage and is the new King of the Mountains with 16 points. The Belgian rider from Lotto-Soudal will wear the polka dot jersey tomorrow. Enric Mas, 9th in GC, keeps the lead in the young riders classification and will be wearing the Blue jersey tomorrow.
De Gendt attacked early in the race (km 4) and had the chance to ride alone in the lead until Juul Jensen decided to follow his attack. The riders from Lotto-Soudal and Mitchelton-Scott respectively were on their own even if Slagter, Pernsteiner, Barceló and Ait el Abdia tried chase them during a few kilometers with no success.
At km 10 a second group composed by Jon Irisarri, Aritz Bagüés, Benjamin King, Brendan Canty, Willem Smit and Pavel Sivakoy attacked to form the final break. After all, De Gendt and Juul Jensen got back on their own, after losing the rest of the group. It was not until km 161 that David de la Cruz and Kwiatkowski attacked to join the leading duo after 7 km chasing.
Juul Jensen and De la Cruz were finally catched by the peloton when cyclists like Dylan Teuns, José Rojas or Alex Aranburu launched several attacks but it ended up in a bunch sprint in Villanueva de Valdegovía, and McCarthy was the strongest.