Van Diemen Cycling team flying home flag in Tour of Tasmania

Van drivers: The Van Diemen team. Picture: Rob Shaw
Van drivers: The Van Diemen team. Picture: Rob Shaw

Eighteen Tasmanians are using their home state tour to further their cycling careers.

In addition to several individuals and a Tasmanian Institute of Sport team, five riders have teamed up under sport director Phil Leslie in the newly-christened Van Diemen Cycling team.

The team of Launceston’s Oliver Martin and Jonathan Butler, Alex Lack, of Wyena, and Hobart’s Mitch Gittus and Ben Bradley is supported by rider-mechanic Blair Austin.

“They are going well and learning a lot and we had two riders in the top 25 after stage 1,” Leslie said.

“We learned a lot from being involved last year and were given a wildcard entry this year and the boys are riding really well.

“It’s all about gaining experience at this level.”

It’s all about gaining experience at this level.

Van Diemen Cycling sports director Phil Leslie

Bradley and Lack are swapping disciplines having competed at the mountain bike world championships in Cairns while Gittus won the under-19 state road championships at the weekend and Martin has returned home from a road season in Belgium.

“They all have roles to play,” Leslie said. “For Ben it’s a really solid training block, for Mitch it’s his first tour and Alex it’s his second. 

“Our captain on the road is Oliver and his experience from racing in Europe has been invaluable.

“It’s also a learning experience for me as a sport director. I’m learning to stay calm and be patient.”

Launceston’s Tom Robinson (NSWIS) leads the Tasmanian charge sitting in the National Road Series top 10.