Westbury welcomes international wheelers for evening racing

Stephen Pearce centre makes his move on the penultimate lap to win the veterans race at Westbury

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Stephen Pearce from Darwin Cycling Club (centre) makes his move during the penultimate lap to win the veterans race at Westbury

A PEACEFUL sunny Monday morning in Westbury gradually built up into a wave of anticipation as cyclists, media and spectators slowly drifted into town for a late afternoon of world-class cycling – the Westbury Criterium.

The Criterium series helps build the ongoing success of the Tasmanian Christmas Sports Carnivals and the Tour of Tasmania – enticing world class cyclists to visit Tasmania each year.

Late afternoon saw locals and cycling enthusiasts gathering on the village green and staking out vantage points on street corners as the race circuit was set up and small groups of cyclists tested out the course before the main events.

This year, the Criterium added a veterans’ and womens’ stages to the elite mens’ race to give three thrilling races around the historic town centre and the green – 30 laps of a 1.3 km circuit.

Mens’ and womens’ cycling teams from New Zealand and Japan, individual riders from overseas and interstate provided fierce competition for the many local riders who competed in each race.

Pieter Bulling of NZ won the elite race, but by only 0.06 second, with four riders crossing the line together – South Australia’s Alex Edmondson and Alex Porter with Ryo Chikatani of Japan in fourth place.

Georgia Baker of WA won the women’s event and Stephen Pearce took the prize in the Masters, with Tasmanians Tim O’Shannessey (City of Burnie CC) in second place and Adrian Adams (Launceston City CC) in third.

Colin Burns of Cycling Tasmania praised the event and the local community for their contribution to promoting cycling in Tasmania. “(There were) 10 world champions taking part across the three races and I reckon plenty of these Japanese riders will go to the next Olympics … it’s a great event with a very supportive local council (Meander Valley).”

The 2015 Criterium series continued with the second and third stages at Sheffield and Burnie. Track, cycling, athletics and wood chopping completed the Christmas Sports Carnivals 2015-2016 with events held in Latrobe, Devonport and Launceston.

 Mike Moores