Like most of you, I’m excited about the 2012 Tour of Tasmania. With international riders from Russia and New Zealand along with the best of Australian domestic cycling it’s sure to be an ethralling tour with some epic battles expected over some gut busting terrain that is sure to be respected by all. There is no doubt that this race is one of the premier tours in Australia, mostly due to the variation in terrain that can be offered by the smallest Australian state.
It what has been a great move by the tour director John Craven, bringing the tour to Hobart for the opening team time trail up Mt Wellington is going to be a great spectical. There is a story, now folklore that centres around a young mountain biker, Cadel Evans squashing the opposition on the slopes of this climb with speeds of up to 27kmph on the steeper sections to win the 1998 tour. His first tour win and the stepping stone to his international road career. The following comment made by cycling commentary royalty Phil Liggett on that day on the mountain must have been either visionary or lucky? “This kid could win the tour de france one day” predicted Liggett from a support car following up the climb!
Being a Tasmanian tour there are increased numbers of Tasmanian riders who will be hoping to take some form of glory on some of the 10 stages covering 543km’s, with some of these riders with are a real chance of doing just that:
Bernard Sulzberger -the 2009 GC winner is back for another crack with the Fly V team. After a horror start to the year with a broken collar bone at the TDU Sulzberger always steps up for his home state event.
Jai Crawford – Hobart climber who has had some great results in Asian tour races this season. Crawford was a late addition and will guest ride with Jayco-2XU. They are strong team and will offer him great support if the opportunity arises.
Nathan Earle – Another Hobart rider to keep an eye on. The Genesys Wealth Advisors team member has just returned from a season riding amateur races in Italy. Earle had an interrupted season due to injury but has had some consistent training in the lead up. On his day Earle is very good, so it will be interesting to see what his form is like.
Ben Mather – Has shown good form this season winning national marathon MTB races and dominating local Tasmanian road races. Had a big crack to take most of the points at the Launceston to New Norfolk classic on Sunday. Always rides aggressively and will be looking to get in the breakways for some individual glory.
Tasmania also has a very strong team presence in the race with the NRS leading team Genesys Wealth Advisors sure to be a major factor with Canberra’s Nathan Haas a strong bet for the overall title. The Pure Tasmania – Deloitte have had a great first year together and have some genuine talent and will be looking to be fresh after missing the Launceston to New Norfolk from their race schedule. Lawson Homes will be solid and Ride.net.au/Hobart Wheelers will enjoy the experience, making their debut in an NRS race.
Today I will be bringing you all the latest from stage one’s classic climb up Mt Wellington, via facebook and twitter but like most of you I have to make a living, so will not be fully covering the remainder of the tour. If there was one stage to cover, this is the one!
A full starting list can be found at cycling news