Having started with a bang, the newly-formed Tasmanian Institute of Sport women’s cycling team is hoping for more fireworks on home soil.
Coach Matthew Gilmore said the team was delighted with its performance at last weekend’s Tour of South West in Victoria where Macey Stewart finished fourth overall and second on a stage, fellow Devonport rider Anya Louw claimed a third-place finish and Hobart’s Madeleine Fasnacht joined both in the final top 10.
“Aside from a win we could not have asked for a better start. The team performed so well across the board,” Gilmore said.
“The purpose was to find out where Macey was at and it is really encouraging that her plan is paying off and she is so committed to it. That result really confirms her talent after spending that amount of time off the bike and do this after just three or four months training.
“But the standout for me was Anya. Ninth overall and third on the last stage, that’s exactly what the team is all about – discovering little gems and having the facilities to put polish on them over the season.
“She is a first-year under-19 which makes her performance even more special.”
Gilmore said the Mersey Valley Tour, which begins with a 16-kilometre Ulverstone time trial on Friday and follows with grueling road stages on Saturday and Sunday, is ideally suited to the team, which also includes Burnie’s Renee Dykstra.
In a further boost for the team, Fasnacht is the only Tasmanian named on the Australian team for July’s Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas where she will contest the road race and time trial.
The tour also includes a men’s race with the TIS represented by under-19s Ainsleigh Gray, of Hobart, and Launceston duo Josh Duffy and Zach Johnson who Gilmore believes will also be suited to the course.