INVERELL’S Ryan Thomas is nervously excited about his next big ride.
The 20-year-old cyclist, now based on the Gold Coast and fresh from a huge baptism in the five stage New Zealand Cycle Classic has the massive Herald Sun Tour to negotiate when it ramps up next Wednesday.
“It’s good and nerve wracking in a way,” Thomas told The Inverell Times’ Michele Jedlicka.
“You want to perform and you want to see how you go against those guys, but at the same time, you know what they’ve already achieved and how good they ride.”
Riding for the Data#3 Symantec Racing Team in the NZ Cycle Classic Thomas finished 13th overall, fourth in the Under 23s and even spent a day in the overall leader’s jersey.
“I didn’t think I was in that great a shape...but I was over the moon to achieve it, and to ride in the yellow jersey was a pretty awesome feeling,” he told Jedlicka.
While he is on board for the Herald Sun Tour fellow Inverell cyclist, Dylan Sunderland, also has an even bigger week approaching.
The 19-year-old Sunderland, who rides for the State Of Matter- Maaps Racing team is riding the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Ride this weekend.
His uncle, former European professional, Scott Sunderland is the race director and helped design the course with Evans.
“It’s going to be a big race with Sam Spokes riding the Cadel Evans too I think,” said Peter Sunderland, one of the major organisers of the annual Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic.
This year’s Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic will be raced May 7, a time Sunderland and his fellow Cycle Classic committeemen hope will be a success.
“We’ve had positive feedback across the board, from riders to officials that the May 7 time should be good.
“But this weekend’s Cadel Evans race has a good local flavour with the two Inverell boys, Sam and Scott involved.”
n Meanwhile, Mitch Carrington returned to Tamworth Cycle Club criterium racing with a welcome win at Goddard Lane on Sunday morning.
Also the club’s publicity officer, the young plumber was delighted to see some good racing and some outstanding results from two of the club’s juniors, Ollie Saunders and Fletcher Partlin at Saturday night’s State Track Championships in Sydney.
He was also delighted to see his good mate and club president Sam Spokes doing well in the Tour Down Under.
Some of the 100-plus kilometer and hour descents were “gnarly” Carrington reckoned.
That Spokes was being used as a domestique to do all the hard work for the Drapac sprinters was part of the TCC chief’s job, Carrington said.
“He’s going well, he’s doing a lot of hard work,” he said.
Sunday morning’s combined A and B Grade criterium was also hard work.
“We gave the B Graders a lap start,” he said.
“But we managed to pull that back off them pretty quickly.
“That made it a quick race.”
It also makes the “little rise” down the back straight tougher later in the race.
“Sometimes it feels like the Moonbis,” Carrington said.
The TCC race again this Sunday morning but whether Spokes is back from the Tour Down Under to ride is unknown.