Tom Leaper wins $5000 elite masters race.

It took a former Giro d’Italia competitor to beat Tasmania’s finest in the $5000 elite masters race.

The field of 24 was soon whittled down as riders battled both the heat and the hill over 30 minutes plus two laps.

A break of three formed before Victorian Tom Leaper eventually got the better of former classic podium placegetter Ben Mather, of Launceston CCC, and former masters winner George Hyde, of Northern Vets CC.

Another Launceston rider, Andrew Margison, looked to have fourth sealed up before sliding out on the final bend allowing two-time winner Allan Glover, of Southern Tasmania CC, to slip past.

“It was a bit of a race of attrition,” said Leaper, a 41-year-old father-of-two of Blackburn CC, who had a three-year pro career and contested the Giro in 2001,

“Once we got away it was just a slogfest. It was a very hard race and it feels fantastic to win it.

“This victory is right up there for me.It’s one of the hardest masters events on the calendar.

“I’ve been training hard for seven weeks and that was all for today so I couldn’t be happier.”

Former national marathon mountain bike champion Mather had plenty of home crowd support but said it was no substitute for training.

The veterans classic gave local riders a chance to share in both the limelight and sunlight over 25 minutes plus two laps.

Northern Vets Cycling Club took the honours with Paul Headlam leading home Matthew Bernal while Shane Revell, of Southern Tas CC, came in third.

MASTER CLASS: Victorian Tom Leaper won a closely fought elite masters race.

MASTER CLASS: Victorian Tom Leaper won a closely fought elite masters race.

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