Tasmanian teenager Wesley Sulzberger, winner of the Tattersall's Tour of Gippsland earlier this month, has his sights set on more glory in the inaugural Australian Cycling Grand Prix at Ballarat this weekend.
Sulzberger, 19, overcame a 54 second deficit on the final stage of the five-day Gippsland tour to defeat Queenslander Miles Olman, with Victorian mountain bike specialist Daniel McConnell third. All three should be prominent at the Australian Cycling Grand Prix which will feature six events for men and women over three days.
Time trials will be conducted at Learmonth on Friday, August 18, criteriums in Sturt Street, Ballarat, on Saturday, August 19, and road races on a circuit at Buninyong on Sunday, August 20.
The events have attracted a remarkable 335 entries, including 111 in the men's road race, and will incorporate the Victorian open Road cycling championships. The men's division will also feature the second round of the four-part Tattersall's Cup series, led on points by Sulzberger after his Gippsland victory.
Tasmanian Institute of Sport coach Paul Brosnan thinks that Sulzberger will continue to do well. "Wes will be very persistent in the Grand Prix," Brosnan said. "He has a really good temperament to go to the next step - he's very calm and takes things in his stride, something he will have to do over the three days of the Grand Prix."
Sulzberger's opponents will include Athens Olympic Games gold medallist Stephen Wooldridge and Melbourne Commonwealth Games gold medal winner Sean Finning. Finning, from Castlemaine, Victoria, won the Victorian open criterium championship in Mansfield last year and also took the opening criterium stage at Mallacoota in the Tour of Gippsland.
The Grand Prix is worth $17,000 prizemoney, with an accumulative points system operating on the three events in both the men's and women's sections, to determine the overall champions.
Individual pursuit queen Katie Mactier is a hot favourite to win the women's crown, even though she will skip Friday's time trial. Mactier, 2005 world pursuit champion and Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, has just returned from America where she trained and raced at altitude in Boulder, Colorado. Her toughest opposition will come from fellow Victorian Briana James, the defending state open road champion.
More information: www.australiancyclinggrandprix.com.au