Awesome, the only way to describe cycling classic

THE fact that junior, elite and masters cyclists all chose to use the word ``awesome'' to describe Sunday's Stan Siejka Launceston Classic could mean one of two things.

Either it is a reflection of the limited vocabulary in today's society epitomised by James Brayshaw's inability to use any adjective other than ``unbelievable'' .th.th. or they're onto something.

The feast of cycling dished up to Launceston's sports-hungry public was the best free entertainment since Lara Giddings accidentally invited both Brenton Best and Nick McKim to the same Christmas drinkies.

Five hours of quality sport at speeds up to 20km/h above the normal limits, free of charge, all viewable from a host of drinking establishments finally waking up to the idea _ what's not to like?

 But before this gets dismissed as another pro-cycling ramble from a Pom hoping to disguise the fact that his nation's getting thrashed in the cricket, don't listen to me, listen to those who might have some idea what they're talking about.

Reigning men's champion Neil Van Der Ploeg said it was ``probably the best crowd I race in front of''.

This year's winner Caleb Ewan echoed that with:  ``There has not been a crowd this big at a crit I've been to.''

And when discussing whether the race is the best crit in Australia, SBS commentator Mike Tomalaris added: ``It certainly attracts the biggest crowds.''

It wasn't just quantity of spectator, but quality of rider.

 Ewan, Von Hoff, Clarke, Giacoppo, Grenda, Haig, Sulzberger, Sulzberger .th.th. the start list was so impressive some of it needed repeating.

And that was just the men. Before the elite women's race, Rochelle Gilmore, manager of the star-studded Wiggle Honda Team, admitted: ``With so many strong  Tasmanians, I'm here talent-spotting as well as racing.''

The junior and masters races also provided the sort of sportsmanship and humility a few Test cricketers could learn from while the state 5km road running championships would be a worthwhile addition to the program just for the honesty of David Thomas's interviews.

However, even the tattooed truth-teller couldn't claim best comment of the night.

That award went to Anthony Giacoppo after he admitted he thought he had finished second, only to be told he had been pipped by Van Der Ploeg.

When Tomalaris asked what made him think that, Giacoppo replied: ``Because he was behind me.''

Awesome stuff.

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