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Tasmanian Road Championships
August 18, 2002
Menzies defends title
By Rod Morris
Karl Menzies confirmed his status as Tasmania's best resident road cyclist with a powerful come-from-behind win in yesterday's State Championship.
Menzies relished the absence of Sean Sullivan, Nathan Clarke and Caleb Manion, who are racing in Europe and that of Gareth Atkins and Bernard Sulzberger, who are currently concentrating their efforts on the Tattersall's Cup - although Menzies is durable enough to include that series in his programme as well.
Menzies was unperturbed when Steve Aitken and David Oliver established an early 3-minute break in yesterday's 122 km Road title, which was held in the rugged Sheffield hills on the State's North-West.
Oliver struggled to keep pace with the in-form Aitken and just after the half way mark, dropped back to the peleton.
Aitken instead soldiered on and with approximately 30 km of the race remaining, still led by more than a minute.
By now, Menzies had lifted his tempo and with a couple of "work horses" in Trevor Innes and Jai Crawford, set about reeling in Aitken. After surviving Cethana, Staverton and Gowrie Park, Menzies and co. caught Aitken with just 5 km to race.
In a small bunch sprint, Menzies took line honours to stage a successful defence of his 2001 crown, while the plucky Aitken had to be content with second.
Innes finished third and Crawford was recognised as the leading U23 rider over the finish line. Evandale's Ryan Sullivan staged a lone-hand attempt to catch the breakaway leaders late in the race and although he didn't feature in the final sprint, did win the State's U19 title.
The Tasmanian U17 Championship was again a showdown between West Tamar rivals Matt Goss and Wes Sulzberger, with the former winning by less than a wheel width, despite the pair staging a titanic battle over 56 km.
Improving Launceston youngster Will Robinson won the Men's U15 race and Grace Sulzberger was successful in the Women's U15.
The Tasmanian Cycling Federation would have been sorely embarrassed by the severe lack of entry numbers, with the Open Women, U19 Women and U17 Women all missing out on titles because of a constitutional clause which demands a minimum of three entries per category.
As a result, Louise Yaxley (Open), Jodie Kertesz (Open), Kirby Piscioneri (U19) and Natasha Mapley (U17) were robbed of a championship and instead were invited to rider alongside the Men's U17 title challengers.
Best performed of the female quartet was Mapley of Devonport, who finished fifth overall, upstaging some of her male counterparts.
Open Men 1 Karl Menzies 2 Steve Aitken 3 Trevor Innes 4 Daniel Cutting 5 Mark Bowden 6 Matt Sydes Under 23 Men 1 Jai Crawford 2 Stephen Rossendell 3 Todd Parnell Under 19 Men 1 Ryan Sullivan 2 Josh Wilson 3 Jason Bellchambers Under 17 Men 1 Matt Goss 2 Wes Sulzberger 3 Cameron Flint Under 15 Men 1 Will Robinson 2 Sean Oliver 3 Aaron Jones Under 15 Women 1 Grace Sulzberger 2 Tiffany Manion 3 Carrie Price