By Rod Morris
Only one of three riders remain in contention to win this year's Toohey's Extra Dry Tasmanian Criterium Championship, but none can lay claim to outright favouritism for this weekend's third and final round. Matt Goss, winner of both rounds held to date holds a 2-point lead over Latrobe's Nathan Clarke and a further three points to Hobart's Stephen Rossendell, who are the only other riders that can win the title. But Saturday's final round at Ulverstone looks almost certain to throw up some surprises.
Former triathlete Karl Menzies, is an expected starter, and will be keen to throw a spanner in the works before he heads overseas to take up a new racing contract in America, whilst Bernard Sulzberger of Flowery Gully will be equally as keen to upset the leading riders, Sulzberger finished third in the opening round but missed the Devonport round due to racing commitments in Bundaberg. He is currently sixth overall and will want to finish with a higher credit rating for the series.
Whilst Goss is the nominal favourite, Clarke must be thoroughly sick of finishing second. In the last three major race carnivals on the Tasmanian cycling calendar, Goss has beaten Clarke to the line in four key races and while Goss may end up winning this championship, Clarke may have to settle on claiming the spoils in the Goodstone Sprint King Championship.
Six intermediate sprints will be dotted throughout the final round criterium and Clarke will be desperately trying to extend his 4-point lead over Wesley Sulzberger. Goss is third, 10 points adrift of Clarke in the Sprint title.
Despite winning both rounds comfortably, Grace Sulzberger will only carry a 2-point lead over Kate Warren in the Invitational Women's series. However Sulzberger needs only to finish in the first three placings to ensure overall victory.
Launceston's Clay Murfett leads Burnie's Matthew McDonagh in the B Grade Men by just 1-point with their nearest challenger being Adam Hartley. Newly crowned George Town Wheel winner Jamie Perry holds a 3-ponit lead in the North-West Veterans category.
The Junior 1 (U17) series is extremely close with Ben Grenda, Matthew Kent and Andrew Smith level on points but separated in order by percentage. Luke Ockerby and Izac Guest are respective leaders of the Junior 2 (U15) and Junior 3 (U13) titles.
Saturday's races will start at 2 p.m. and all presentations will be held in the Chelsea Room of the Furners Hotel at approximately 5.30 p.m.
Progressive points tally (after Round 2)
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