Peter Herzig took the biggest win of his career when he won the Grafton to Inverell at the weekend. It's a race he first rode nine years ago and after eight attempts, he's finally achieved his "dream". Herzig broke away with Budget Forklifts teammate Michael Cupitt at the top of the Gibralter Range and managed to hold off the bunch for the remaining 150km, taking an impressive 1-2 victory in the final National Road Series race of the year.
"I'm going against Victorians here who say Melbourne to Warrnambool is the hardest but I think 'The Grafton' is the best one-dayer in Australia," Herzig told Cyclingnews.
Herzig began his NRS career like most, doing it on his own in 2005 before achieving a few results that got him noticed. He signed with FRF-Caravello in 2006 and rode for the team through its various incarnations before joining Budget Forklifts halfway through 2009.
The 34-year-old's win at Grafton is his biggest win to date and comes off the back of a strong result at Tour of Tasmania where he finished fifth overall. Herzig rode strongly throughout the race that also saw his teammate Mark O'Brien finish second overall, coming within 17 seconds on eventual winner Lachlan Norris (Drapac Professional Cycling).
"I said to Mike after the race 'to win is great but to do it with a teammate like that is just a dream'," Herzig said.
"In that last 10kms, he said to me 'this one is yours Pete, this one is yours'. I couldn't ask for a better teammate."
Herzig was looking forward to taking some time off the bike before focussing on the two-day Tour of Bright in Victoria and then the National Championships in January. With the Budget Forklifts team set to undergo roster changes for 2013, Herzig says he look to take more of a leadership role in the coming year - depending on the final team composition.
"I guess it will depend on the new guys who come in. Obviously having Mark O'Brien and Luke Davison, who were clear leaders for the tours means someone will need to step up which I'm happy to do in the hillier tours or we will look to some of the younger guys to fill those roles."