Jay McCarthy.
Jay McCarthy.

McCarthy's on top down under

MARYBOROUGH'S Kerri Mowat was lost for words yesterday - literally.

Her voice had almost gone - just like fingernails, a result of spending the week cheering on her boyfriend, cyclist Jay McCarthy, during the Tour Down Under in South Australia.

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Mowat has had plenty to shout about during the World Tour event, especially during stage four, a 130km race from Norwood to the Barossa town of Tanunda.

McCarthy, riding for the UniSA team, won the first King of the Mountain stage after reaching the summit at Smith Hill ahead of Spaniard Ruben Perez Moreno and Frenchman Blel Kadri.

A fantastic performance from the 19-year-old McCarthy, a member of the Fraser Coast Cycling Club given that he's the youngest rider in his team and in action in the Tour.

He's also mixing it with some of the best professional cyclists in the world.

Mowat said watching her boyfriend in action in such an elite event has been an experience she'll never forget.

"We are all so proud of him," Mowat said.

"He's performed so well throughout the week and watching him climb up that hill to win that part of the stage is something I'll never forget.

"I was so excited for him - I don't think I could have cheered any louder," she laughed.

As for McCarthy, well, he's taking his success all in his stride.

"I am just doing my job for the team," McCarthy, who finished second in the road race at the 2010 world junior championships in Italy, said modestly.

"My job was to make a break early and I did that.

"Saying that, winning that bit of the race felt great."

As for being taking part in the Tour, McCarthy, who only started cycling when he was 15, said he loved every minute of it.

"It's a really good opportunity for someone my age to test my skills and to see where I need to develop more," he said.

"Hopefully I'll do enough to get another ride next year."