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Launceston to New Norfolk joins National Road Teams Series

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The field leave Launceston in the 200km one-day classic to New Norfolk in Tasmania's south.

The field leave Launceston in the 200km one-day classic to New Norfolk in Tasmania's south.
(Image credit: Shane Goss)
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Ben Day (left) and Fly V Australia teammate Benjamin King work hard at the front of the leading group.

Ben Day (left) and Fly V Australia teammate Benjamin King work hard at the front of the leading group.
(Image credit: Shane Goss)
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Oh my god that was tough: Race winner Bernard Sulzberger (Fly V Australia) was glad to get to New Norfolk after spending more than five hours in the saddle.

Oh my god that was tough: Race winner Bernard Sulzberger (Fly V Australia) was glad to get to New Norfolk after spending more than five hours in the saddle.
(Image credit: Shane Goss)
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Riders were blown off the road when strong cross-winds hit near the base of the category one climb at Poatina.

Riders were blown off the road when strong cross-winds hit near the base of the category one climb at Poatina.
(Image credit: Shane Goss)
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The peloton make their way towards the climb up Poatina around fifty kilometres into the 2010 Launceston to New Norfolk One-Day Classic.

The peloton make their way towards the climb up Poatina around fifty kilometres into the 2010 Launceston to New Norfolk One-Day Classic.
(Image credit: Shane Goss)
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Riders head up the climb at Poatina during the 208-kilometre Launceston to New Norfolk One-Day Classic.

Riders head up the climb at Poatina during the 208-kilometre Launceston to New Norfolk One-Day Classic.
(Image credit: Shane Goss)
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Number one: Virgin Blue/RBS Morgans Patrick Shaw from Victoria was always the one to beat once he had placed himself in the leading group early into the race.

Number one: Virgin Blue/RBS Morgans Patrick Shaw from Victoria was always the one to beat once he had placed himself in the leading group early into the race.
(Image credit: Shane Goss)

With two tough years behind it, the Launceston to New Norfolk Classic has been elevated to National Road Teams Series status.

The race replaced the Launceston to Hobart in 2009 and soon developed a reputation for its difficult course with just seven of a 76-strong field, making it to the finish line. That day, Tasmanian Bernard Sulzberger took the spoils, riding for V Australia.

Victorian Pat Shaw won the 2010 edition of the race.

"I never knew much about this event until today but, boy, it's one of the best bike races in Australia," Shaw exclaimed after crossing the line. "The course is so tough."

The event, which also gains a new major sponsor in 2011 – Elgas which will open its Tasmanian operations in Launceston shortly, is now one of 11 races on the National Road Teams Series. The others being Mersey Valley Tour, Canberra Tour, Tour of Toowoomba, Tour of Gippsland, Tour of Geelong, Tour of the Murray, Goulburn to Citi, Tour of Tasmania, Grafton to Inverell, Melbourne to Warrnambool, Shipwreck Coast and Emerald Lakes.

Cycling Tasmania president Noel Pearce described the Launceston to New Norfolk Classic as an event that "all riders should have a crack at."

"It's an unforgettable experience for the riders, officials, sponsors and the media... I believe this event is destined for greatness in Australian cycling."

After departing Launceston, the race follows a course through Pateena, Longford, Cressy, Poatina, Arthur's Lake, St. Patrick's Plains, Steppes, Bothwell, Berridale, Hollow Tree, Rosegarland, Gretna and Hayes before finishing at Derwent Valley Council chambers.

There will be 13 intermediate sprints and seven hill climbs along the route, with the King of Poatina award going to the rider first up the 10 kilometre climb, which peaks at the gradient of 7.6 per cent.