The competition was fierce on the first stage of the tour of Tasmania with 3 teams within 31 seconds of each other across the line on the Mt Wellington summit finish. The Jayco-2XU team flew up the incline to finish first in 48m 29s from hot favourites Genesys Wealth Advisors 48m 49s, Russia (49m) and Fly V Australia (49m 13s).
Tasmanian comeback rider Mark Jamieson played a key part in the Jayco-2XU result and was wrapped with the performance. ” After a couple of difficult years and a lot of faith from the team it’s a great honour to hold the leaders jersey in my home state” beamed Jamieson. “It’s a hard race simply because we don’t do a lot of team time trials, and this is the first one we have ever done on a mountain. We all knew this was going to be the hardest hill climb of the year, and we brought the team that can contend, so we are really happy with where we are at.”
The official race launch took place at the iconic Wrest Point Casino with the parade of riders taking to the streets of Sandy Bay to the Cascade Brewery to the start line. Followed by helicopter this was a sight to behold with 138 riders making their way through the inner suburbs.
The road to the summit gave tassie fans the closest thing to the large European climbs with many there to cheer the riders through the low level fog and pain barrier as the incline did not let up. Locals had been out painting the roads with slogans such as “SHUT UP LEGS” and “HARD MEN AHEAD”.
The strategy was for teams to get their first four riders across the line to get their finishing time. No doubt the more professionally drilled teams were using tactics by working non climbers at the front, setting the pace up Strickland Avenue and along to the turn off to the summit road at Fern Tree.
The Russian team started fast out of the blocks with a first check point time of 13m 16s followed by Jayco-2XU at -1s and Genysis -23s. This took a toll on their performance towards the end of the climb with Jayco-2XU able to maintain the pace to come away with the fastest time. Genesys tried their best to pull back the margin and by the third split were in second place at -17s and the Russians starting to fade at -25s.
The Genesys team are happy with their position and not having the pressure of holding the leaders jersey so early in the tour. “It does take the pressure off, but we are now the one’s that have to go on the offensive to try and take the lead off the other teams. The Russians have very strong riders from various teams, Jayco-2XU and Fly V Australia will be the others to watch for.” remarked West Australian Genesys rider Anthony Giacoppo.
Tomorrow’s two stages will be critical to all potential leaders with ten climbs and three sprints on offer as the race heads from New Norfolk to Hamilton and on to Bronte in the central highlands.