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Dempster aiming for Tasmania success after tough season

South's Zakkari Dempster took stage 1, Wes Sulzberger and Cameron Meyer doubled on day two

South's Zakkari Dempster took stage 1, Wes Sulzberger and Cameron Meyer doubled on day two (Image credit: Miwako Sasaki)

Last year’s Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic winner Zak Dempster is hoping to turn around a has “tumultuous year” of heartache at this month’s Tour of Tasmania. The Bendigo rider signed with Bulgarian-registered outfit Bourgos for 2009, but things went downhill when Dempster was sidelined for six weeks with intestinal problems after the Tour of Turkey in May after which his team went broke.

“It’s been a tumultuous year, for sure, but I am really thankful for the experience,” he said. “It has not been smooth sailing but at least I have come out of it still riding my bike.

“I’m desperate to put my hands up in the air and win some stages of the Tassie Tour,” he added. “I really need the feeling of actually winning something.”

Despite the problems with his outfit Dempster has contested 72 races so far in 2009. He was thrown a lifeline by Drapac-Porsche team owner Michael Drapac in July and finished fifth overall, with two stage placings, in Japan’s Tour of Hokkaido earlier this month.

Dempster will have current Australian road champion Peter McDonald and former Victorian 200km titleholder Stuart Shaw in his seven-man contingent for Tasmania.

“The course doesn’t overly faze me. It’s important that we get team success and I am climbing better than I usually do,” he said. “Peter McDonald climbs as good as anyone in Australia so our team should be in a strong position for general classification.”

The Tour of Tasmania starts in unusual fashion on September 29, with a 32km East Devonport criterium, starting from the vehicle deck on the ship Spirit of Tasmania. The race runs through to October 4.

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