The Sulzbergers both came agonisingly close to living out a career-ending fairytale with one final local win.
But reigning Stan Siejka Cycling Classic winner Anthony Giacoppo broke away in the stretch to the line in the 2016 Longford Kermesse.
The wily 30-year-old timed his run to perfection on the last of the race’s final two laps in the 30-minute criterium.
Launceston cyclist Wes Sulzberger was pipped amid a tight pack at the finish to claim second from West Australian Scott Sunderland in a controversial ending.
Sunderland one lap earlier raced to the line, believing it was the last only to hear the bell to indicate another lap still remained.
The dying minutes of the criterium before the kermesse’s mandatory final two laps saw 32-year-old Bernie Sulzberger and Victorian Jason Lee exchange leads to cheers from the crowd.
The pair were even out to a 15-second margin before both tired in the final lap.
Younger brother Wes, 30, however, felt he could not have asked for a better race and preparation for Sunday’s finale for the Sulzbergers.
“I went with the attacks early and I followed the first few moves that went on, but then after that I sort of sat back and let the race play out,” he said.
“I really didn’t have a lot in the tank and what I did have I felt I used it really well.”
Sulzberger admitted the race pace was “really fast”, many of the 1.2km laps completed in a blistering 1:34 time at the back end of the kermesse.
“I haven’t raced for a while, probably four or five months, just done some local racing here, but no other major or international races,” he said.
“So the pace was just really fast and really high and I struggled with that early on.
“I’m not a world-class sprinter but I knew if I used my smarts right, I can position myself to be up there on the podium.”
The All-Australian race was missing hometown hero Richie Porte, who opted to rest up for Stan Siejka Cycling Classic on Sunday around Launceston’s City Park.
- Women’s race: page 59