Perry leaves elite riders in her wake

TEENAGER Lauren Perry has set her sights on emulating some illustrious fellow Tasmanians after taking another step up the podium to win the Stan Siejka Launceston Cycling Classic in her home town.

Perry finished second behind Belinda Goss in the rain last year but last night fulfilled the last-lap prediction of the multiple national track champion who has since retired and taken over commentating on the 30-minute-plus-two-laps race.

A star-studded field including world championship silver medallist Rachel Neylan could not keep pace with the 16-year-old who won $1500 in a sprint finish from Victorian Kendelle Hodges with Perry's Polygon teammate Georgia Baker third.

"It means a lot to win such a big race in front of my home crowd," said Perry, who began riding with Lawson Homes before graduating to Nigel Baker's Recab and Polygon teams.

"I did not expect this win. I was happy just to finish but when I got there I felt good so thought I'd give it a go."

The Riverside High student admitted she has plenty of Tasmanian role models to follow.

"I'd love to go somewhere with cycling and make a career out of it. I'd love to take the same career path as (junior world champions) Georgia and Amy (Cure) but also follow guys like Richie Porte and Matt Goss.

"Hopefully this is one small step to something big."

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