Bobridge signs for Christmas carnivals

MULTIPLE world champion and world record holder Jack Bobridge has signed up to contest all criteriums and track meetings at the upcoming Christmas carnivals series. 

 Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania president Mike Gunson said he was ecstatic with Bobridge's recruitment. 

``This is an 11th hour coup beyond our wildest expectations,'' Gunson said. 

``Jack is a terrific drawcard _ real box office material. 

 ``The strength of the cycling line-up at the carnivals is the best for years. We are all set for a feast of world-class entertainment.'' 

 South Australian Bobridge, 24, is the reigning world individual pursuit record-holder, and won the Australian road championship at Buninyong in 2011. 

 He won gold medals in the individual and teams pursuits at the 2011 world track championships in The Netherlands, following another gold in the teams pursuit at the 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games. 

In 2010, he also won teams pursuit gold at the world championships in Denmark. 

Bobridge was a silver medallist in the teams pursuit at the 2012 London Olympics and won the world junior time trial championship in Poland in 2009. 

 He rode with GreenEdge on the world road circuit in 2012 and this year joined the Dutch trade team Belkin. 

 Bobridge, who married his long-time girlfriend Josie in Adelaide last Saturday, said he was excited to be riding the carnivals. 

``I asked my team for permission to race the carnivals several weeks ago,'' he said. 

``I had to pull a few strings and only got the OK yesterday. 

 ``They are happy because I get to ride the crits and also do bunch racing on the track.

 ``The carnivals organisers have come up with a really good program. I like the idea of crit and track racing, and I'll also be able to go on long training rides in the North-West Coast hills in the mornings. 

``It's a perfect program, really.'' 

Bobridge's presence will ensure that the inaugural criterium series will get away to an explosive start at Latrobe on Boxing Day evening, starting at 6pm in Gilbert Street.

 The 20-lap crit, over 2.1km of a circuit bounded by Bradshaw, Cotton, Stanley and Gilbert streets, will be contested by a top-class 75-man field that contains six Olympians (Glenn O'Shea, Alex Edmondson, Scott Sunderland, Franco Marvulli, Mark Jamieson and Bobridge). 

 Top-flight Tasmanians Bernard and Wes Sulzberger, Will Clarke, Ben Grenda, Nathan Earle, Luke Ockerby and Tom Robinson are also in the field. 

 The two other criteriums will be in Devonport (Bluff Road at 12 noon on Sunday, December 29) and Burnie waterfront at 6pm New Year's Eve. 

 While Launceston is not hosting a criterium during the carnivals, Bobridge is sure to help attract a bumper crowd to the Silverdome on Saturday, December 28. 

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