FORMER world champion Franco Marvulli admitted his long-awaited win in the Latrobe Wheel was a hollow feeling after a controversial finish saw him claim last night's title on appeal from initial winner Alex Edmondson.
In a dramatic conclusion to proceedings at Latrobe Oval, the result of the $7000 race teetered between Olympic silver medallists from South Australia and Switzerland before being decided by a catalogue of officials.
Edmondson, a 20-year-old London Olympian, was first across the line having been one of four scratchmen in the 3000-metre race.
However, Marvulli, a 35-year-old former madison and points score world champion, protested that Edmondson had drifted across the track in front of him in the finishing straight. Chief commissarie Val James upheld the protest, initially relegating Edmondson to fourth behind Marvulli, Launceston's Ben Grenda and Scott Sunderland, of South Australia.
Edmondson protested through his SASI coach Jason Niblett but after an independent hearing involving Cycling Tasmania's Collin Burns and Robyn Bailey plus visiting UCI commissaire Peter Tomlinson, the victory was awarded to Marvulli with Edmondson placed second.
The decision not only denied Edmondson a clean sweep of the carnival's AJ Clarke, A-grade scratch and wheel race, but prevented him completing a second family double of the night by adding his name to an event previously won by sister Annette shortly after Devonport's Macey Stewart had joined brother Brandon as winners.
``I would have liked to win it a different way. It's not a good feeling,'' said Marvulli, who has been competing at the Tasmanian carnivals since the late 90s and was determined to win a wheel race in his last campaign.
``With half a lap to go I had two riders in front. I passed one and was moving up on the other. If it was one metre I wouldn't say anything or even two but three or four is too much and I said to the commissaries that's not fair,'' he said.
``I would not have won it easy but I was coming from behind and was a good chance.''
Niblett said as the winning margin was a bike length any drifting had no bearing on the result.
Edmondson said he was bitterly disappointed.
``On an outdoor track riding on near full discs you get caught in the wind so it's a bit sad but that's bike racing,'' Edmondson said.
``You win some, you lose some. If you do it on purpose you get relegated but I think that was a fair ride.
``To have that taken away is a pretty hard way to lose such a special race.''
Marvulli added: ``There are rules that in the last 200 metres you should not move your line. There was wind involved but it was from back to front. There was no excuse''.
``If I break the rules I pay for it and I've been relegated before.''