Cycling action gets crowd buzzing

SPECTATORS cheered as the buzz of tyres on asphalt blurred past the Stan Siejka Launceston Cycling Classic's St John Street finishing mark.

The event was again strongly supported with the crowd lining the streets for the annual sporting spectacle.

This year's classic included a new flavour for spectators with its inaugural five-kilometre running event.

Race president David Martin said he estimated the crowd to be up to 8000 strong.

``It's much larger than last year,'' Mr Martin said.

``We've included the running leg this year to add interest for a different audience, hopefully they'll stay around for the main cycling event as well.''

Retired multiple national track champion Belinda Goss also made a return to Launceston after winning the women's event last year.

This time she was holding the microphone as a commentator.

``It was a bit different returning to the track after last year, I even thought about preparing for the race,'' Goss said.

``It's really good to see what the committee has done with the race, it's looking great.''

The race committee was pushing to maximise the event's presence in the national sporting community, according to Mr Martin.

He said the committee was not only able to secure sponsorship in tough conditions, but had gained a larger window of national coverage from SBS's Cycling Central program. 

``Last year they came down and gave us a 12-minute window on the show,'' Mr Martin said.

``They've allocated a 25-minute slot for us this year, which is again upping the event's profile.''

He said many interstate teams had stayed in Tasmania since Friday's road championships.

``They're all very aware of the nature of the event,'' Mr Martin said.

``If we saw more teams coming down next year I wouldn't be surprised.''

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