English cyclist Kristian House believes the up-coming Jayco Tour of Tasmania could be won or lost on the brutally-tough 55 kilometre stage from Deloraine to Sheffield on Friday, October 27.
House, 27, on his fifth visit to Australia, reckons the course, through Chudleigh, Mole Creek, Gog State Forest and Paradise, is one of Australia's most testing parcours. "It's spectacularly beautiful, but that won't necessarily help if you're in trouble half-way up the forest hill," he said.
House, a member of Britain's Olympic track endurance team for the past seven years, is enjoying his best road season. He won the Tour of Ireland, a stage of the Tour of Bretagne in France, and was sixth in Britain's national road championship after missing an early five-man breakaway.
Stage wins, or even outright victory in the 40,000 AU$ Jayco Tour of Tasmania, are now an end-of-season goal for House, who in 2003 won a Herald Sun Tour stage and was fourth overall in the Tour of Queensland. "I am reasonably fit and am really looking forward to this tour," House said.
"The ride through the Gog State Forest doesn't frighten me but I know it will probably sort everybody out. ... I wouldn't be in the Tassie Tour if I didn't think I had some sort of winning chance."
The 55km Deloraine-Sheffield trek, one of 11 stages in the 594km tour, will be followed by a 32km criterium in Sheffield, taking in 10 laps of a 3.2km circuit bounded by Main Street, High Street, Tarleton Street and West Nook Road.