Tassie's cycling pride: it's Cure gold

ECHOES of Northern Tasmania could be clearly heard 14,000 kilometres away across the Pacific Ocean this week.

The capital of the Valle del Cauca department and most populous city in western Colombia, Santiago de Cali, or Cali to its friends, appears to have about as much in common with Launceston, Devonport, Latrobe or Burnie as Craig Thomson with a law- abiding citizen.

But much of what the city's 2.3 million residents had the opportunity to witness this week would have sounded uncannily familiar to the slightly smaller gathering which saunter into the state's cycling venues after each Christmas.

Although present and past world champions Amy Cure and her coach Matthew Gilmore may have been the only true Tasmanians at the track world titles, many of their mainland teammates and even some international rivals have been regular visitors to Australian cycling's most productive state.

The Australian team read like a who's who of the Tasmanian carnivals series, many commenting that they had a headstart in dealing with Cali's breezy, semi- outdoor Alcides Nieto Patino velodrome having cut their teeth on tracks exposed to the worst Bass Strait could blow at them.

Just over a year after claiming an unprecedented clean sweep with all four major wheelraces, Glenn O'Shea boosted his collection of rainbow jerseys as did fellow South Australian Alex Edmondson, who may have been denied victory in this summer's Latrobe Wheel by a controversial appeal but couldn't be stopped in either the individual or team pursuits.

Instead, officials turned their focus on to another carnivals regular, disqualifying Simon Van Velthooven from the keirin, an event in which he claimed Olympic bronze in London.

The popular Kiwi, who regularly stays with Legana's Lawson cycling clan and happily entrusts their young son Ryan with possession of his prized Olympic memento, was dragged for fractionally passing the back wheel of the derny bike - a decision which prompted Gilmore's former Olympic rival Scott McGrory to Tweet: "A joke of officialdom. Track cycling is being strangled to death by stupidity!"

Two days after a horrific crash in the A-grade scratch race at the 2010 Latrobe Carnival in which he flew off the track and landed in the seating, a patched up Matt Glaetzer was back racing at Devonport, and the South Australian was at it again in Cali.

A crash in the keirin which saw his bike land in the commentary box didn't prevent Glaetzer climbing back on it a couple of days later to reach the semi- finals of the sprint.

Cure provided the undoubted Tasmanian highlight of the meeting, not only in claiming the points race but prompting Anna Meares to describe her as a "Penguinian" and the race commentator to thank viewers for all the pictures of Penguin they kept tweeting him.

He should have been happy that was all they were tweeting after SBS had cut to a commercial break just as Cure made her race- winning move.

But the most poignant carnivals reference related to the 2007 crash which ultimately claimed the life of an Adelaide teenager.

The first tweet dispatched by Edmondson after claiming his rainbow jersey read: "This one is for you Shamus Liptrot. You are forever in my heart."

Amy Cure and Matt Gimore. Picture: Cycling Australia.

Amy Cure and Matt Gimore. Picture: Cycling Australia.


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