Queensland's Jay McCarthy had a day he'd rather forget but has held onto the race lead despite a heavy fall 400 metres from the finish line in the International Thüringen Tour in Germany.
The 18 year old, who has held the race lead since his stage one victory, was perfectly positioned as the race headed into the town of Oberhof to complete the 143km fourth stage but instead of riding across the line he ended up sitting dazed on the side of the road after crashing 400 metres from the finish.
Under the rules he was awarded the same time as the group he was with when he crashed and so remains on top of both the overall and best young rider classifications. His Jayco AIS team mate Pat Lane is sitting third overall. Up until the crash the stage had played out perfectly for the Australians.
"The plan for the day was to keep Jay and Pat protected so they would be fresh to defend the expected attacks when the race reached the two category one climbs towards the end of the stage," said Team Director, James Victor. "Nick (Aitken), Alex (Carver) and Michael (Hepburn) were smart and determined today and kept control for 110km.
The stage featured 1800 metres of climbing with two category one mountains in the last 40 kilometres from Fröttstädt and it's on the climbs that McCarthy and Lane came under attack.
"Both met every challenge thrown at them and got over the climbs with the lead group," explained Victor.
Swedish rider Tobias Ludvigsson launched a solo attach five kilometres from home and managed to hold on to claim the stage win by a four second margin over the chasing group.
"Jay, with help from Pat, positioned himself well in that lead group for the sprint but he came unstuck crashing over a tired back wheel in front of him," said Victor. "He suffered a few cuts and bruises but he got up and walked to the presentation."
McCarthy now has a nine second leading margin over Dutchman Wilco Kelderman (Rabobank) and with Lane third at 20 seconds.
The fifth stage of the event is a savage 12km individual time trial from Katzhütte to Neuhaus am Rennweg
"It's an uphill course that starts at around a three percent gradient, climbs to eight percent and then the final 500 metres a solid 15 percent pinch," said Victor.
The weekend's final two stages are also for the climbers.
About Team Jayco-AIS
Jayco Corporation and the Australian Institute of Sport are backing Australia's next generation of cycling talent across track and road for both men and women under the Team Jayco AIS banner. In 2011, on the road with the men, Team Jayco AIS is registered as a UCI Continental Team in the Oceania Region whilst the women's team will compete in the Australian National Road Series in the Jayco AIS strip. In the fixed wheel arena Jayco AIS will blaze a trail on the velodrome in the UCI World Cup Classics and UCI calendar events. Team Jayco AIS continues the tradition of excellence of Cycling Australia's High Performance Program. For more information and news from the team visit teamjaycoais.com