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By Rod Morris
Cyclists Mark Jamieson and Matthew Conn polished their preparation for this month's Skilled Tour of Tasmania with victory in their State's Madison Championship on Thursday (Feb. 14) night. Jamieson and Conn scored a stunning victory in the 175 lap (150 km) race at the Launceston Silverdome, by taking a lap from a quality field with less than 10 km remaining.
The move by Jamieson and Conn upstaged the pre-race favourites, Nathan Clarke and Tim Decker and second choice riders, Bernard Sulzberger and Gareth Atkins. Jamieson and Conn amassed 18 sprint points and although less than the second and third placed teams, won the race courtesy of taking the extra lap.
"We knew we couldn't outsprint the leading teams, so we had to take the risk of pinching a lap," Conn said. "We had three attempts at trying to take a lap and we were certainly running out of time when we finally did."
Both Jamieson - the reigning Burnie Wheel winner - and Conn will start in the Tasmanian Institiute of Sport's No. 2 team for this month's Skilled Tour of Tasmania, which begins in Hobart on February 27 and will finish in Launceston on March 3.
The majority of the Tasmanian Madison was shaping as a race amongst the two favoured teams - Clarke/Decker and Atkins/Sulzberger. At the half way mark, the latter team had tallied 17 points to lead the Tasmanian - Victorian duo (Clarke/Decker) by the narrowest possible margin and until Jamieson and Conn pulled their daring robbery on the field, it remained a race in two.
Clarke and Decker won five of the intermediate sprints, including the final surge, which carried double points - but it was all to no avail.
Of the 11 starting teams, only 8 finished, including the veteran combination of Laurie Venn and Craig Price - two riders who dominated Tasmanian cycling in the late 1970s and 1980s and are still showing the young bucks a thing or two.
Tasmanian rider Nathan Clarke will be offered two more chances to reach the 3000 m individual pursuit qualifying target for the Commonwealth Games after narrowly missing out at the Silverdome on Thursday. Clarke needed to clock 3 mins 22.30 secs, but after a relatively slow start, was timed at 3.23.60.
Tasmanian Institute of Sport head cycling coach Kevin Tabotta said Clarke appeared to relax early before recovering to register a smart time - but not smart enough! "Nathan will have another trial or two next weekend," Tabotta said.
The final section of the Tasmanian Track Cycling Championships will be held at the Launceston Silverdome next weekend (Feb. 22-24).
Events will be held over three days and at the conclusion, Cycling Tasmania selectors will announce the State teams to contest this year's Australian Junior Championships at the Alice Springs Cycling Club velodrome in Northern Territory in March.
(Tasmanian unless noted) 1 Matthew Conn/Mark Jamieson 18 pts 1 lap down 2 Nathan Clarke/Tim Decker (Vic) 37 3 Gareth Atkins/Bernard Sulzberger 30 4 Caleb Manion/Abram Manion 11 5 Daniel Cutting/Matthew Rice 9 6 Sean Sullivan/Ryan Sullivan 8 7 Mark Matthews/Karl Menzies 3 8 Laurie Venn/Craig Price 0 DNF Andrew Loft/Brendan Geale DNF Cameron McCormack/Scott Callow DNF Darrell Eaves/Todd Parnell
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