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By Rod Morris
For six months of the year, Tasmanian cyclist Leigh Bryan tackles the lucrative American criterium circuit.
But each December he returns home and with regularity makes an impact on the Tasmanian cycling scene.
On Friday Bryan became the first rider in history to win three Ulverstone Criteriums.
And Bryan did it in a fashion that suggests one of the major wheelrace finals in the coming Basslink Tasmanian Carnival Series may be within his grasp.
For the bulk of the 30 minute Ulverstone Criterium - staged by former Austral Wheel champ Craig Price and sponsored by the local trading community - Bryan was rarely spotted, hiding in the peloton.
Young Evandale rider Ryan Sullivan set the early pace and at one stage, opened up a gap of 14 seconds.
But as the tempo of the race increased, Sullivan's lead decreased and although being out on his own for seven laps, was eventually reeled in. Sullivan tried again later in the race and in the closing stages was part of a four man breakaway with his older brother Sean, Mark Jamieson and current Tasmanian Open Road champion Karl Menzies.
At two laps to go, that quartet seemed assured of filling the minor placings - but try telling that to Leigh Bryan.
In a hectic final 1400 m, Bryan led the main bunch back into the race and in a desperate sprint, took line honours ahead of young Category 2 rider Abram Manion, with Sean Sullivan and Mark Jamieson next home.
Winners in other categories included Simon Elliott (Cat. 3), Belinda Goss (Cat. 4), Matthew Goss (Under 17), John Rayner (Under 15), Alex Holden (Under 13), Darryn Pugh (NW Vets A Grade) and Tim Hicks (North-West Vets B Grade).
Planning for next year's Ulverstone Criterium has already started.
TCF Category 1 1 Leigh Bryan 2 Sean Sullivan 3 Mark Jamieson TCF Category 2 1 Abram Manion 2 Cameron McCormack 3 Josh Simpson Cats 1 & 2, Most aggressive rider: Ryan Sullivan Lap prizes: Ryan Sullivan (20 mins); Sean Sullivan (15 mins); Caleb Manion (10 mins); Ryan Sullivan (5 mins); Mark Jamieson (bell lap) TCF Category 3 1 Simon Elliott 2 Dane Leedham 3 Jarrod Burr TCF Category 4 1 Belinda Goss 2 John Kingston 3 Aaron Bigham Cats 3 & 4, Best breakaway: Simon Vanderaa First unplaced female: Louise Yaxley First unplaced veteran: Peter Oliver Lap prizes: Jarrod Burr (15 mins); Ben Elliott (10 mins); Dane Leedham (5 mins); Jarrod Burr (bell) North-West Veterans A Grade 1 Darryn Pugh 2 Peter Oliver 3 Phil Hayes North-West Veterans, B Grade 1 Tim Hicks 2 Peter Jones 3 Keith Dolting North-West Vets, Best Presented Rider: Polly Good Best breakaway: Darryn Pugh Lap prizes: Darryn Pugh (10 mins and 5 mins). Under 17 1 Matthew Goss 2 Ty Winduss 3 Brett Schnitzerling Best breakaway: Matthew Goss Encouragement award: Kaidan Homan Lap prize: Matthew Goss. Under 15 1 John Rayner 2 Will Robinson 3 Jarrod Harman Encouragement award: Ben Laskey First unplaced female: Grace Sulzberger Lap prize: John Rayner. Under 13 1 Alex Holden 2 Thomas Robinson 3 Carrie Price Unluckiest rider: Edward Robinson Encouragement award: Matt Laskey Lap prize: Alex Holden.
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