City on track in cycling

LAUNCESTON appears to be in the box seat to retain its round of the national junior track series after glowing praise for the city's weekend festival of cycling.

With the two-day developmental track series at the Silverdome complemented by Saturday's time trial and kermesse at Symmons Plains and Sunday's ever-popular Stan Siejka Classic, Cycling Australia officials admitted they could not have been more impressed.

``It went really well. The organisation here is first class,'' said CA's special projects manager Max Stevens, who is race director of the track series.

``A lot of riders, teams and managers have expressed interest in coming back here because there is so much to do. 

``I love the idea of a whole cycling weekend. We hope this becomes an annual weekend.

``It is now for us to decide whether to rotate to Western Australia or come back here. Well we  haven't heard from WA for some time but Launceston and Cycling Tasmania are very much on the front foot.''

Praising the efforts of the Launceston City Cycling Club, Cycling Tasmania and the support of the Launceston City Council, Stevens said it was perfect for the development of under-15 and under-17 riders to be able to race on both track and road.

``I can only speak personally when I say we'd love to keep coming back because there is such a cycling focus here that we don't seem to see in the big capital cities.

 ``There's a huge passion you maybe only see in places like Bendigo, Ballarat, Adelaide and other cycling cities.

``I'll certainly be telling my employer what we're being offered and how much support we get in Tasmania.

``Not only has Launceston produced some fantastic cyclists but it is such a cycling-friendly place. 

``It's been very opportune for me to spend four days down here and see exactly what this city is all about which I haven't been able to experience before.''

Stevens' host for his visit was CA colleague Matthew Gilmore  who agreed the weekend was ideal for his dual roles with the national track program and as newly-appointed Tasmanian Institute of Sport head cycling coach.

``It's a really good national quality competition for our riders,'' Gilmore said. 

``It gives them an opportunity to develop in bigger bunches to what they're used to and, from a national perspective, it's a fantastic concept to get clubs involved.

``It's tying in so many quality events, from the track series to the road race at Symmons Plains and then the Stan Siejka Classic, that's going from a development aspect all the way to the elite.

``And the kids in the track series get to ride the Stan Siejka as well so get to rub shoulders with the best riders we have in Australia and some of the best in the world.''

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