Australia has great depth in endurance sports and in 2011 Tassies finest took it to the best of them on the national stage and also dominated in their home state events. The second peer poll award to be announced is the Tasmanian Endurance Domestic Performer of the year. The award criteria is for performances in Australia and Tasmania in 2011. The athlete with the most votes and winner for 2011 is…..
|1st -Ben Mather -MTB- National series 100km round winner 27.8% of votes||
It’s been a great year for cyclist Mather who had shown great diversity, by posting exceptional performances in both mountain bike and road cycling. Mather also had an opportunists year, not afraid to take it up to the race, taking points, jerseys and prizes along the way.
Early in 2011 pressure was on for Mather to defend his Australian 100km MTB marathon title from 2010. The race in 2011 didn’t go to plan, but I think this released the pressure valve and gave him the chance to refocus goals for the remainder of the year. Winning a round of the 100km MTB National Series, defeating some of Australia’s best was an awesome result to redeem the Nationals.
Not afraid of backing up in events, there was a week stretch in October which Mather was most aggressive rider in the Launceston to New Norfolk Classic, held the most aggressive rider jersey in the Tour of Tassie and then piloted the Avantiplus team to overall victory in the Freycinet Challenge. I was getting weary, just reporting on it!
Towards the end of the year Mather finished 3rd in the Launceston Cycling Classic, after being the ever opportunist and getting in the breakaway, beating home many pro tour riders. Unfortunatley Mather had a nasty crash at the Tasmanian Criterium Championships which has put him on the back step for 2012.
To round out Ben’s year, he also operates Avanti Plus Cycles in Launceston and is the event director of the Blue Dragon MTB stage race. Busy man and worthy winner!
|2nd -Grace Sulzberger -CYCLING- National Road Series Winner - 21.5% of votes||
In a big comeback year, Sulzberger has dominated the National Road Series riding for the Pure Tasmania team and has been selected for the Australian squad to compete in European competition in 2012. Grace is and excellent climber and has been handy in sprints this year!
|3rd Hayden Armstrong -IRONMAN- Age Group Winner Cairns IM / 3rd consecutive Kona qualification 15.2% of votes||
Hayden has been super consistent in one of the hardest endurance disciplines you can attempt. Ranked as the best Ironman competitor in his age group, Armstrong was able to keep a high standard of results across the year at IM New Zealand, Cairns Challenge, Kona and 70.3 Yepoon. 3 IM’s in one year!
|Melanie Daniels -ATHLETICS- Winner of Gold Coast 10km / First Tas at Launceston / Burnie Ten – 11.4% of votes||
It was a stand out year for Daniels who confirmed herself as the state’s best female distance runner. Daniels loved the road, winning the Gold Coast 10km and the Hong Kong International Road Mile. During the Tasmanian winter Daniels won her first City to Casino in Hobart, and was first Tasmanian in the Launceston and Burnie Ten’s.
Next to be revealed will be the Tasmanian International Performer of the year and Tasmanian Event of the year. Stay tuned in the coming week.