FOCUS OF ATTENTION: Winner Matthew Goss.(1/2)About 12,000 people lined the city’s streets to see Matthew Goss, 18, win the richest one-day road race in Australia.
The dual junior world champion outsprinted Olympic gold medallist and Tour de France champion Stuart O’Grady to claim the $10,000 winner’s cheque.
“To win such a big race in your home town is unbelievable,” an overwhelmed Goss said after the race.
“With so many spectators and so many supporters out on the course and in front of my family and friends – it was just awesome.”
O’Grady finished second ahead of American Gui Nelesson, with another six Tasmanians – Karl Menzies, Mark Jamieson, Chris Wilding, Josh Wilson, Jarrod Harmon and Michael Wilson – in the top 20.
Race director Tom Sawyer said he could not have planned a better finish to the race.
“Matt is just a great kid – he really does have some talent, he works it and he has the guts to do it,” Sawyer said.
“I think he is the star of the future.”
The success of last night’s event would have brought relief and satisfaction for Sawyer and co-organiser Stan Siejka, who faced a tough battle to secure the race.
When the Launceston City Council withdrew $45,000 in funding in November, most would have crumbled.
But the determined and passionate cycling pair, with the help of local businesses, got on their bike and organised the international- standard event in just over a month.
“The first year we put it together in three months and this year we have put it together in six weeks – I am ready to take on the world,” Sawyer said. “Sometimes there are little tests in life and this proves that you can do stuff when you really want to do it.”
Gunns retail general manager David Legro said he would be in talks with race organisers to plan next year’s race.
“It was fantastic to be associated with and support such an event of international standing,” Mr Legro said.
“It was an easy decision for us to be involved to keep it here, and to get the support of 10-12,000 people and a Tasmanian victory – what more could you want?”
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