The future of Tasmanian cycling was acknowledged by the present as Richie Porte handed out the awards to the winners of the junior races.
The victors in the under-15 and under-17 boys’ and girls’ races appeared as delighted to meet the Tour de France fifth-placegetter as they were to receive their accolades.
I have not really won anything else so this would have to be my biggest win.
Launceston’s BMC team leader, making his return to racing after breaking his collarbone in the Olympic Games road race in Rio de Janeiro, even joined in the junior races, but struggled to stick with the youngsters on the Lawrence Street climb.
“It was awesome to meet Riche,” said Henley James-Smith who won the under-17 boys’ race.
The 15-year-old Launceston City Cycling Club member attacked on the bottom of the course before enjoying a solo passage to the line.
“I knew it would be hard to pass on the hill so I went on the flat down the bottom. It was a tough race and there was some really good competition.”
The son of regular Launceston rider Scott Smith, led home Tristan Aylett, of Mersey Valley, and Launceston clubmate Ryan Lawson.
A student at Scotch Oakburn College, James-Smith is also a keen mountain biker.
Catelyn Turner, of Longford-Esk Cycling Club, won the girls’ race from Launceston’s state track teammates Amy Wright and Isabella Flint.
“That was really good,” said 14-year-old Catelyn.
“It was very hard but challenging so a really good race.
“I did OK on the hill. I made my move about 10 minutes into the race and just kept pushing until the end.
“It was an awesome feeling to cross the line first.
“I have not really won anything else so this would have to be my biggest win.
“I’ve only been cycling for 18 months but I love it. It’s so much fun.”
The under-15 races saw victories for Tasmania’s other regions.
City of Burnie Cycling Club’s Lachlan Spurr won the boys’ race from Hamish McKenzie, of Northern Districts, with Ethan Hubbard, also of Mersey Valley, completing the podium.
Renae Philpott, of Hobart Wheelers, led home Zoe Wright, of Launceston, in the under-15 girls’ race.
Racing over 10 minutes plus two laps, the juniors were the first to tackle the course on a sweltering day when spectators sought out any shade available and the kidney roundabout in Brisbane Street proved the most popular vantage point..
Healthy fields helped set the tone for the day’s lengthy program with the junior races supported by Launceston coach Phil Leslie.