By Rod Morris in Devonport
Ulverstone 18 year-old Ben Price will almost certainly become the first cyclist to win back-to-back Cycling Tasmania Rider-of-the-Season awards at next weekend's season-ending St Helens Carnival. Price claimed the lead away from international cyclist Graeme Brown at last Sunday's Mersey Valley-Devonport Carnival and will take a slender 1-point lead with him to St Helens. With the absence of Brown, the only other rider that can wrest the lead away from Price will be Launceston's Ben Laskey.
The CT award is based on all handicap finals and scratch races and Price has amassed 40 points from 13 top four placings, including four wins. In 2003-04, Price won with 56 points including five wins and 16 other minor placings.If Brown is not overtaken by Laskey and remains second, it will prove the same quinella as last season.
First year Launceston rider Laura McCaughey has an unbeatable lead in the women's category of the CT award. So far she has scored 65 points in a dominant debut season and her nearest challenger - Belinda Goss - is unlikely to race at St Helens.
The junior award will go right to the wire, with any one of three riders still able to claim the title. Under 13 rider Jake Laskey reclaimed the lead last weekend, but is only 1-point clear of Under 17 Daniel Jamieson. Launceston's Tom Robinson (Under 17) is in third place, 13-points adrift of Laskey and will need to win all three qualifying races at St Helens to have any chance of pinching the award away from Laskey or Jamieson.