From setbacks to comebacks, Jay McCarthy knows that life in the pro peloton can be equal parts challenging and dangerous. Born and raised in Queensland, Australia, he got first bike at the age of 14 and was instantly hooked. Following a career that spanned success at the Junior Worlds, Ardennes Classic, winning a stage at the Tour Down Under and being the first Australian to win the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, Jay had carved out a name for himself and made the move to Andorra, a haven for professional climbers.

But in 2020, that all came crashing to a halt during La Vuelta when a freak accident saw him fly over his handlebars at 70km/hr, severely injuring his leg and altering the direction of the future as he knew it. The road to recovery is never easy as a cyclist, but it is rewarding as Jay would come to learn. What started as physio trips four times a week, slowly graduated to a wheelchair and crutches within one month, and three months on, getting back onto his bike for the first time.

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"In this time I started to put back a little more into the community that gave so much to me when I was first there and I'm now leading some rides a few times a week for this bike shop En Route (Amsterdam)."

Finding joy and satisfaction in the little things like climbing his first hill post-crash, at his own pace with no pressure, sharing simple cycling moments with former teammates and loved ones, or leading a shop ride. With a fresh perspective from his work with charities to adventures with new friends, Jay knows that no matter what the future holds (whether that’s a return to the pro peloton or not) his love of cycling will not fade - but that’s on his own terms no matter what.

"It's exciting that now I can get over these mountains again. That will be another motivation for me to start building the training up. Who knows how long it will take to get back, but I feel that I’m enjoying the bike, I’ve got good people around me, anything is possible."
"I really had those problems where I thought, if I wasn't coming back to cycling then that was it, I was hating it and I could have basically given up a few times. But in that moment I met some great people and I'm doing different things besides just training and racing my bike on the weekend."
"I've really learnt in the last twelve months that I've found my way and if I ever can come back to that racing, I'd like to keep that up more and that gives me a lot more motivation and gives me more shape in the long run."