Proving to be one of the most consistent finishers at this year’s Tour de Taiwan, Bernard Sulzberger achieved his greatest victory to date - in what has been an up-and-down few years - to claim the overall title as the bunch rolled across the line of the final day around Taipei City.
Sulzberger was rarely off the pace during the race and came agonizingly close to taking up a stage win, picking up three podium placings and two additional top-ten results before moving into the lead at the end of Stage 4. The 29-year-old was supported by his powerful Drapac Professional Cycling squad throughout the remaining days before finally allowing himself a sign of relief at the end of the final stage.
"Great to win Tour of Taiwan, could not of done it with out great team mates support @DrapacCycling #thankstaffthisweekaswell," Sulzberger tweeted.
"It was a gallant effort from the entire team all week to look after Bernie who has kicked off his 2013 season in great form and started the teams Asia Tour campaign in the best possible way," said a team release.
Sulzberger’s rolled across the finish line for the final time in Taipei City tucked safely into the bunch on what had been a drizzly day to finish 24-seconds clear of Ethiopian Tsgabu Grmay (MTN-Qhubeka) with Stage 1 winner Kirill Pozdnyakov (Synergy Baku Cycling Project) a further one-second behind the Australian.
"This is definitely the biggest win of my career", said Sulzberger. "This is a massive win for myself and for my team that has been 100% committed from when I had the jersey.
The Tasmanian signed for the Australian Continental squad Drapac Professional Cycling at the end of 2012 after a relatively successful one-year stint in Great Britain with Team Raleigh-GAC however, it was his victory in Taiwan that signaled the end to a turbulent few seasons. There was also reason for further celebration as his win made it back-to-back overall victories - after Rhys Pollock won the title in 2012.
"I've not had the best of luck with teams folding and crashes", said Sulzberger. "This victory repays me for the difficult times I've had as a pro rider.
"They had won the Tour de Taiwan already last year [with Rhys Pollock], it's a big achievement to repeat that," he added.