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Sulzberger wins inaugural Classic

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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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Riders make their way on the roads near Longford in the inaugural Launceston to New Norfolk 200km one-day classic.

Riders make their way on the roads near Longford in the inaugural Launceston to New Norfolk 200km one-day classic. (Image credit: Shane Goss)
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A bunch had formed at the front of the race approaching the turn-off to Poatina.

A bunch had formed at the front of the race approaching the turn-off to Poatina. (Image credit: Shane Goss)
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The lead goup head over a climb on their way to the category one climb at Poatina.

The lead goup head over a climb on their way to the category one climb at Poatina. (Image credit: Shane Goss)
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The second group on a rise near Cressy.

The second group on a rise near Cressy. (Image credit: Shane Goss)
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The third group struggle up a climb in windy weather near Cressy.

The third group struggle up a climb in windy weather near Cressy. (Image credit: Shane Goss)
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Rhys Pollock (Drapac Porsche) feels the strain in the cold conditions riders had to face during the 200km classic.

Rhys Pollock (Drapac Porsche) feels the strain in the cold conditions riders had to face during the 200km classic. (Image credit: Shane Goss)
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Tour of the Murray River winner Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia) could still smile despite the terrible conditions during the race.

Tour of the Murray River winner Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia) could still smile despite the terrible conditions during the race. (Image credit: Shane Goss)
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Riders found themselves in the grass after strong cross-winds hit near Poatina.

Riders found themselves in the grass after strong cross-winds hit near Poatina. (Image credit: Shane Goss)
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A sign of things to come: The race was severely affected by strong cross-winds near Poatina.

A sign of things to come: The race was severely affected by strong cross-winds near Poatina. (Image credit: Shane Goss)
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Rhys Gillett (Cycle City) had to use all his bike-handling skills to avoid crashing into a road-marker near Poatina.

Rhys Gillett (Cycle City) had to use all his bike-handling skills to avoid crashing into a road-marker near Poatina. (Image credit: Shane Goss)
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B' Grade winner Tim Elmer (Lawson Homes) takes onboard a drink at the feed-station at Poatina.

B' Grade winner Tim Elmer (Lawson Homes) takes onboard a drink at the feed-station at Poatina. (Image credit: Shane Goss)
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Gene Bates (Drapac Porsche) went solo on his break during the category one climb at Poatina.

Gene Bates (Drapac Porsche) went solo on his break during the category one climb at Poatina. (Image credit: Shane Goss)
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Ben Day (Fly V Australia) makes his way up the category one climb at Poatina.

Ben Day (Fly V Australia) makes his way up the category one climb at Poatina. (Image credit: Shane Goss)
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Budget Forklift's Cameron Jennings (left) and Michael England on the climb at Poatina.

Budget Forklift's Cameron Jennings (left) and Michael England on the climb at Poatina. (Image credit: Shane Goss)
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Gene Bates (Drapac Porsche) makes his way to the top of Poatina with a minutes lead over a chasing pack.

Gene Bates (Drapac Porsche) makes his way to the top of Poatina with a minutes lead over a chasing pack. (Image credit: Shane Goss)
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Gene Bates (right) of Drapac Porsche was eventually caught after conquering the category one climb at Poatina.

Gene Bates (right) of Drapac Porsche was eventually caught after conquering the category one climb at Poatina. (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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Bernard Sulzberger (Fly V Australia) from Tasmania takes out the shortened inaugural Launceston to New Norfolk One-Day Classic.

Bernard Sulzberger (Fly V Australia) from Tasmania takes out the shortened inaugural Launceston to New Norfolk One-Day Classic. (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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Bernard Sulzberger (Fly V Australia), the Tas Gas Launceston to New Norfolk One-Day Classic winner for 2009.

Bernard Sulzberger (Fly V Australia), the Tas Gas Launceston to New Norfolk One-Day Classic winner for 2009. (Image credit: Shane Goss)
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The podium spray (l-r): Rhys Pollock (2nd,Drapac Porsche), Bernard Sulzberger (1st,Fly V Australia), and Dylan Newell (3rd,Praties) on the podium in New Norfolk.

The podium spray (l-r): Rhys Pollock (2nd,Drapac Porsche), Bernard Sulzberger (1st,Fly V Australia), and Dylan Newell (3rd,Praties) on the podium in New Norfolk. (Image credit: Shane Goss)
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Drapac Porsche's Rhys Pollock clowns around with a local radio personality's cut-out in New Norfolk.

Drapac Porsche's Rhys Pollock clowns around with a local radio personality's cut-out in New Norfolk. (Image credit: Shane Goss)
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Bernard Sulzberger (Fly V Australia) was the overall King of the Mountains winner in the race.

Bernard Sulzberger (Fly V Australia) was the overall King of the Mountains winner in the race. (Image credit: Shane Goss)
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Gene Bates (Drapac Porsche) from South Australia won the King of Poatina jersey after his solo ride to the top of the category one climb.

Gene Bates (Drapac Porsche) from South Australia won the King of Poatina jersey after his solo ride to the top of the category one climb. (Image credit: Shane Goss)
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Riders pass canola fields near Cressy on the outskirts of Launceston.

Riders pass canola fields near Cressy on the outskirts of Launceston. (Image credit: Shane Goss)
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Stormy weather brewing: the lead group head for the hills in the background and the climb up Poatina.

Stormy weather brewing: the lead group head for the hills in the background and the climb up Poatina. (Image credit: Shane Goss)
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Strong cross winds was making life difficult for riders in the lead group.

Strong cross winds was making life difficult for riders in the lead group. (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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Gene Bates (Drapac Porsche) wins the climb up Poatina in strong winds and freezing conditions.

Gene Bates (Drapac Porsche) wins the climb up Poatina in strong winds and freezing conditions. (Image credit: Shane Goss)
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Fly V Australia's Bernard Sulzberger (left) and Ben Day control the lead group on the snow lined roads above Poatina.

Fly V Australia's Bernard Sulzberger (left) and Ben Day control the lead group on the snow lined roads above Poatina. (Image credit: Shane Goss)
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No more stormy weather please: Drapac Porsche's Rhys Pollock looks to see if there is anymore bad weather ahead after the re-start at Gretna Green.

No more stormy weather please: Drapac Porsche's Rhys Pollock looks to see if there is anymore bad weather ahead after the re-start at Gretna Green. (Image credit: Shane Goss)

It was billed as Australia’s most spectacular and challenging one-day bike race, and the inaugural Tas Gas Launceston to New Norfolk Classic lived up to all expectations.

Replacing the time honoured Launceston to Hobart race, this new event provided riders with a little bit of everything as Tasmania's weather threw all it could at the field.

Home-state hero Bernard Sulzberger, riding for Fly V Australia, took the spoils. He was one of seven riders - of 76 at the start - to reach the finish line, highlighting just how tough the race was.

From the moment the field left the Launceston Casino on Sunday morning, the race took its toll on the field, whittling the peloton with every kilometre raced.

Winds – estimated at 90km/h - buffeted riders when they were out on the open roads. While there was some respite from the gale as they ascended tree-lined climbs, there was constant rain and, over the top of Poatina Hill, riders had to contend with snow.

It was only when the field had been reduced to smattering of small groups that anyone saw the sun.

After 127km the race jury made a decision, in the interests of safety and for the future of the race, to reduce the length of the race.

Race organisers cut 60km from the Classic’s 210km distance and ferried the seven remaining riders to Gretna Green. There, the race was restarted with 20km to-go.

Sulzberger was pitted against Drapac Porsche rider Rhys Pollock, Praties’ Dylan Newell, Fly V teammate Benjamin King and Cycle Sports team member Ashley Baines for the final 20km, but the smart money was on the Tasmanian.

Sulzberger and Pollock made their final move about 8km from the finish and established a handy time split on the chasers. It was advantage the pair were able to extend to more than 2 minutes.

In the final straight, Sulzberger simply displayed his sprint prowess and rode away from Pollock to claim victory in the first edition of the race.

Newell led the chasers home, 2:47 behind the winner.

Sulzberger also claimed the Tall Timbers King of the Mountain title – in a countback from King, who won the BOC Sprint Championship.

The King of Poatina Challenge, awarded to the first rider to complete the race’s only Category 1 climb went to South Australian rider Gene Bates. However, the ascent took its toll as he was brought back to the peloton. He later abandoned.

The Apple Isle will remain the centre of attention for cycling this week as the Cat Underground Mining Tour of Tasmania starts in Devonport on Tuesday.

The 655 kilometre, six-day, 10-stage race is the fourth and final leg of the Australian Road Championship series: the Scody Cup.
 

A Grade
1Bernard Sulzberger (Tas)5:01:02
2Rhys Pollock (Vic)0:00:02
3Dylan Newell (Vic)0:02:47
4Benjamin King (WA)0:02:50
5Ashley Baines (Vic)

B Grade
1Tim Elmer (Tas)

C Grade
1Jim Avens (Tas)

Tall Timbers King of the Mountain
1Bernard Sulzberger (Tas)

BOC Sprint Championship
1Benjamin King (WA)

King of Poatina Challenge
1Gene Bates (SA)

 

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