Series win caps off trip for Grasmann

GERMAN Christan Grasmann achieved his two objectives on his first visit to Tasmania -  he won the inaugural criterium series and got to see a platypus.

The 32-year-old former skier looked just as at home weaving through a tight Burnie circuit as the slopes of the Alps, taking out the win and his third podium in as many races to guarantee the overall crown.

``It was my main goal to win here,'' said Grasmann, a six-day specialist who lives near Munich on the Austrian border.

``They told me to come for the crits because handicaps is not my world, it's too intense for me.

``But crits and road races are my main thing and this is a great series, very we'll organised.''

Grasmann finished second at Latrobe and third at Devonport before completing the set on a fast, technical Burnie circuit centred on Marine Terrace.

Working with fellow German Marcel Barth and Austrian Andreas Muller, Grasmann stayed patient over the 30 laps which took the quality field just 32:59 minutes to complete.

With the field lapping at just over a minute there was plenty of entertainment for the impressive crowd to watch on a balmy evening which later morphed into a New Year's Eve party.

Riders of the calibre of Hobart's Team Sky-bound Nathan Earle, Launceston's Ben Grenda and South Australian world champion Jack Bobridge all made bold moves off the front before a sprint finish became inevitable.

Grasmann timed his burst best to win from Grenda with Devonport crit winner George Tansley, of South Australia, third and Bobridge fourth.

Grasmann, this year's Bendigo madison champion, also won the criterium cup with 33 points from Grenda, whose third, sixth and second places earned him 28 with Bobridge third on 27. South Australian Miles Scotson won the sprint series.

``I would have liked to win but it's pretty nice to come second,''  said Grenda, who has been thereabouts throughout a carnivals series largely dominated by South Australians.

``We've been calling them the South Australian mafia because there's so many of them coming down here and taking all the prize money so it's nice to stitch them up on some races.

``It's good to see the crits back and the series has been great. I really hope they can keep them going.''

Bobridge echoed the sentiment, calling the series ``awesome'' and Grasmann pledged to defend his crown if it continues into a second year and his Rudy Project Racing team allows him.

``There's a real family feel to it all and everyone has been taking care of us riders,'' said Grasmann, who earned $4500 from his week's work, nearly a quarter of the total prize money.

``Tasmania is a lovely place. It has great landscape which reminds me a bit of home with the mountains, fields and farms.

``What I knew about it before I came was the platypus and we not only got to see one but got a nice photo as we'll so it's been a lovely trip.''

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