The Launceston International criterium is fast approaching, with a world class field of including Matthew Goss in the men and Bridie O'Donnell in the women lining up for the premier Tasmanian event.
The Classic is celebrating its 10th year and has gone back to where the race was held in its inaugural year with the start/finish line located at the International Hotel in Launceston with a 1km circuit around the Launceston streets.
Instead of the usual Christmas timeslot, the race has moved to work together with event promoter USM who are also hosting the Launceston Pro Ex events in the week leading up to the International. For the first time in the event's history, organisers have made a separate women’s race which starts at 6pm. This move has drawn praise from some of Australian’s best women cyclists, including Bridie O’Donnell.
"It’s fantastic. With the races in NSW and the Bay series, it’s wonderful to have a standalone event for cycling," O’Donnell said.
"It helps people understand and recognise some of the leading criterium riders in the country. It also means that the general audience can get exposure to the way women race which is different from the men. I’m really thrilled the organisers have put this event on."
Defending champion Matthew Goss is aiming to capture his 4th victory in the race and is the hot favourite. A number of Australia’s other top professionals such as Richie Porte, David Tanner, Cameron Wurf, Ben Grenda and Wes Sulzberger will also be riding.
There will be a distinctive NRS feel to the race as well with local team Genesys Wealth Advisers led by sprinter Steele Von Hoff and 2011 NRS champion Nathan Haas in attendance. Drapac Professional Cycling, Budget Forklifts, V Australia, and Search2Retain will also all be fielding teams.