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Clarke claims Launceston criterium

Will Clarke, Belinda Goss and Taylah McLennan claimed victory in Launceston. They won the elite men's, elite women's and under 17 juniors' categories respectively.

In the elite men's race, Clarke beat Wes Sulzberger (Francaise des Jeux) and Tom Robinson (Praties) to the line in a sprint finish among the three men, who were part of a breakaway.

Racing started fasted and furiously from the gun. Luke Ockerby won the first of five sprints, which were run every 10 minutes. Ben Mather took sprint number two and Matthew Goss took the third one. A group of six counterattacked after Goss's sprint including Goss himself and Wes Sulzberger, David Tanner, Jonathan Cantwell, Will Clarke and Leigh Howard.

The break earned an advantage that grew to as much as 18 seconds; however, organizers kept the peloton motivated with a money prime. Bernard Sulzberger took home $100 and then tried to close the gap with the assistance of Under 23 time trial World Champion Jack Bobridge. Their efforts failed around the time that Cantwell took another intermediate sprint.

The peloton eventually caught the break and it looked like the race might come down to a mass sprint finish. That's when Clarke, Wes Sulzberger and Robinson got away with a slim five-second margin. The leaders worked well together and managed to hold off a bridge attempt from Bobridge.

The 24-year-old Clarke, a former athletics star, took the final sprint for win number five of 2009 and heads in 2010 with confidence.

"It feels really good to win. I've never won a crit before so this was a good one to win. The race was really fast and I managed to get into a break and out-sprinted Wes Sulzberger to win." Clarke said.

Runner-up Wes Sulzberger was happy with his race. "The race was pretty fast. I was aiming to get into a breakaway and did that but unfortunately I didn't have the legs to finish it off today. I'm in good form and wanted to win a fast circuit but finishing second is good." Sulzberger said.

Race notes

Two-time winner Hilton Clarke did not start and Graeme Brown barely did; the latter's plane did not arrive until one and a half hours prior to the race after being delayed.

Local Taylah McLennan took a $100 prize home for his Under 17 win, the biggest yet in his young career. It was a race of attrition with just 10 riders left to contest the final sprint. Patrick Sharpe and Theodore Yates were second and third respectively. McLennan said he was inspired by his father and hopes to turn pro in years to come. He is 15-years-old and current in high school.


Elite Men
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Will Clarke
2Wes Sulzberger
3Tom Robinson

#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Belinda Goss

Under 17s
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Taylah McLennan
2Patrick Sharpe
3Theodore Yates


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