• Matt Goss will wave farewell to professional cycling in Launceston. (Getty)Source: Getty
World Champions, Olympians, international stars, retiring greats, elite masters and some of the best up-and-coming junior talent in the country are set to hit the streets of Launceston this Sunday in the 2016 Launceston Cycling Festival.
Cycling Central

24 Nov 2016 - 12:21 PM  UPDATED 24 Nov 2016 - 12:24 PM

Headlined by BMC Racing star Richie Porte, who finished fifth in this year’s Tour de France, the Recycal Stan Siejka Launceston Cycling Classic sees one of the best fields ever assembled in the event’s history.

Miles Scotson, who recently signed with BMC Racing, will also be making the trip to Launceston, as he lines up with the InForm Racing team this weekend. Scotson was part of the winning Australian team pursuit team at this year’s UCI Track World Championships. He also won bronze in the time-trial at the Under 23 World Championships.

The Recycal Stan Siejka Launceston Cycling Classic Livestream will be available here at Cycling Central on Sunday 27 November.

Also joining Scotson as part of InForm Racing will be Scott Sunderland, a former World Champion as well as a Commonwealth Games Gold medalist in the time trial and an Olympian.

Tasmanian greats, Bernie and Wes Sulzberger, as well as Matt Goss will be racing for the very last time in their professional careers – a great opportunity for fans to farewell them following stellar careers.

These riders will also line up in a special one-off race this year – the Matt Goss Invitational, which will be held at 2:00pm.

The MyState Women’s Launceston Cycling Classic also features a talent-laden field, including Rio Olympians Georgia Baker, as well as her Orica-AIS teammate Annemiek van Vleuten from The Netherlands, who led the Women’s Road Race at this year’s Rio Olympics just ten kilometres from the finish, before a sickening crash left her in ICU for two days; van Vleuten went on to win the Tour of Belgium just one month later.

Also a confirmed starter is last year’s winner Kimberley Wells, a two-time Australian Criterium champion, and another local star in Macey Stewart, who is looking forward to this great event.

“I am extremely excited to be lining up at the prestigious Stan Siejka Classic once again. I’ve only been back training for a month or so, so it will be a great test for me, competing against some of Australia’s best female cyclists on an extremely tough circuit,” Stewart said.

Race Director Nigel Baker says fans should ensure they get their early on Sunday, as the quality of the fields this year, as well as the impending retirement of local stars, should see a crowd in the vicinity of 10,000 lining the 1.1km circuit.

“We are very excited to not only see so many of our local stars lining up this year, but also a great line-up of national and international cycling stars, in what is widely considered the best street criterium race in the country,” Mr Baker said.

“Launceston should be very proud of this event, and with Matt Goss, Bernie and Wes Sulzberger choosing to finish their careers at this event, it’s a great opportunity for everyone to come out and see these three great cyclists ride around one last time.”

The day will kick-off with the Veterans Shaw Contracting Classic at 12:45pm. Veterans racing in Tasmania is extremely popular and with a high-quality field, including local stars, it promises to be a great race.

This year’s Elite BMW Masters race will also feature a great field of high-quality riders. One of those riders competing will be Tom Leaper from Victoria. Leaper has not competed in Tasmania since 1998, when he won the Launceston to Devonport stage of the Tour of Tasmania, where he held off former Tour de France stage winner and two-time Australian National Road Race champion Neil Stephens, and is looking forward to taking part in this year’s event.

“I have good memories of the area, and I saw the course profile and the prizes are some of the best in the country for Masters races, so I’m sure there will be a good field,” Leaper said. The morning will see the Mybikecoach Junior’s Classic, which will feature a coaching course on how to criterium race, then ride with the stars including Richie Porte, with junior races from 12:15pm.