Teenager Luke Ockerby has won the 2011 Stan Siejka Launceston Classic in wet and dangerous conditions on the new city centre circuit. In his last ride for local Pure Tasmania cycling team, the 19 year old was able to out kick fellow Tasmanian’s Ben Grenda and Ben Mather to take the biggest win of his life. The weather conditions dictated the race with an early break of 9 staying away till the finish.
You knew you are at a big time bike race when you hear the familiar tones of Mike Tomilaris going through the pre race hype, which was built around a short video homage to the year of Matt Goss. Once under way for 45 minutes + 3 laps on a damp course, the usual break attempts came early, with Ockerby the early aggressor, attracting Genysis Pat Shaw and Nathan Haas to his wheel. With a large presence in the race, Genysis Wealth Advisors were the odds on favourites to supply the race winner. A number of other riders joined this group including Bernie Sulzberger, Ben Grenda, Ben Mather, Luke Fetch and late addition to the race Aaron Jones.
The rain increased during the race, leaving large pools of water on portions of the road. This played in to the hands of the break, with the main peleton, featuring the big sprinting favourites, were not willing to take any risks to pull back the leading group. Liquigas hardman Cam Wurf attempted to build the pace and make a race of it, but the rest of the group did not seem overly interested.
Ockerby has had good form toward the end of the season with soem strong finishes in the Tour of Tasmania criteriums. He will be riding for Budget Forklifts in the NRS in 2012, and who knows were he may end up in the future? There have been two young Tasmanian’s who have won the race before and moved on to ride for some of the biggest pro tour teams in the world!
The event was filmed by SBS Cycling Central and is due to be shown on Sunday week at the regular 5pm Cycling Central show.