The 2018 Spirit of Tasmania Cycling Tour started with a 0.67km prologue in Launceston today to decide who would wear the first leader’s yellow jersey in the stage to Grindelwald tomorrow.
The stage route snaked its way up Brisbane Street West and it was all done and dusted in just over 90 seconds for the fastest riders. What the stage lacked in distance it made up for in difficulty, with the riders having to negotiate ten corners and 60 meters of elevation gain on their way to the finish line which overlooked the city of Launceston.
The short, punchy course was always going to favour the riders who were explosive and could drag themselves over a climb and the results reflected the pre-race predictions.
The hot favourite for the stage was Cameron Ivory (GPM) who was coming off the back of winning the Stan Siejka Launceston Cycling Classic on Sunday. Ivory was the eighth last rider down the start ramp and crushed the existing leading time by nine seconds. His time of 1 minute 31 seconds acted as the benchmark for the remaining riders to beat, but it was a bridge too far for the remaining riders. Tristan Ward (BSC) came closest to Ivory’s time falling short by two seconds which was enough to secure second place on the stage behind Ivory.
InForm MAKE rider and National Road Series (NRS) leader Raphael Freienstein was the last man to start and cannoned up Brisbane Street West, but despite his gallant efforts he still fell short of Ivory’s time by five seconds, enough for third place on the stage.
A great result alone for Freienstein, but more importantly, the German native put some handy time into his closest rivals which could prove fruitful for both the overall NRS classification and the General Classification for the rest of the Spirt of Tasmania Cycling Tour.
When asked at the finish line about his performance an exhausted Freienstein said, “I’m super happy, my lungs are burning, it’s a good start to the Tour.”
The 27-year-old showed his experience when quizzed about the time he had put into his main competitors, “It’s a long tour, so we will take it day by day.”
The Tour now heads into three decisive days starting tomorrow with 115.9km from George Town to Grindelwald. The final six kilometres is where the action is expected to happen on the finishing climb, aptly named Alpine Crescent. It’s a stage where a rider won’t win the Tour but it is defiantly one where many riders will have their overall classification hopes dashed.
“It’s a pretty tough day before even getting to the finishing climb, it’s the longest stage of the Tour and I think it will split up a fair bit on the last climb… it will be a reduced bunch sprint at the finish,” InForm MAKE manager Pat lane said.
2018 Spirit of Tasmania Cycling Tour prologue results
1st- Cameron Ivory (GPM) 1.31.81
2nd – Tristan Ward (BSC) + 2 seconds
3rd- Raphael Freienstein (InForm MAKE) + 5 seconds
27th - David Williams (InForm MAKE) +17 seconds
33rd - Rudy Porter (InForm MAKE) +19 seconds
39th - Stuart Smith (InForm MAKE) +20 seconds
46th - Carter Turnbull (InForm MAKE) + 21 seconds
60th - Tom Benton (InForm MAKE) +23 seconds
76th - Tom Jones (InForm MAKE) + 29 seconds