Launceston Cycling Festival preview

Mad for it: Tasmanian Madeleine Fasnacht leads last year's elite women's race.
Mad for it: Tasmanian Madeleine Fasnacht leads last year's elite women's race.

Organisers are predicting a crowd of around 10,000 will encircle City Park for Sunday’s Launceston Cycling Festival.

Now well established on the Australian cycling calendar, the annual criterium continues its reputation of attracting some of the country’s best riders.

Individual and team pursuit world champion Alex Edmondson, who is also a Commonwealth Games gold medalist, headlines the field racing clockwise around the 1.1-kilometre circuit.

Also making the trip from South Australia is reigning Australian road race champion Miles Scotson.

The 23-year-old BMC Racing teammate of Richie Porte was runner-up in the team time trial at the UCI road world championships in Norway. 

This year’s women’s event also features another high-quality field, including Tasmania’s best riders, such as Devonport’s Macey Stewart.

The 21-year-old has signed with pro-team Wiggle High5 Pro, and will be heading to New Zealand with Launceston’s Lauren Perry next week to compete in the Oceania track championships.

This year’s classic has been selected as one of three events forming the national criterium sprint series, alongside events in Sydney and Melbourne.

The goal of the series is to bring the best professional and elite cyclists in Australia together, to showcase criterium racing. The series will have equal prize money for the king and queen of the sprint series.

The day kicks off at 11:45am with junior races, followed by events for veterans and masters, ensuring all ages are catered for.

A new event for 2017 is the hill challenge, featuring 16 riders competing in a knock-out race up the challenging Lawrence Street climb. Starting near the Gunners Arms Hotel, it will be a one-versus-one challenge to see who can reach the roundabout first.