Haas the Launceston to New Norfolk favourite

CANBERRA’S Nathan Haas will start as the race favourite in this Sunday’s tortuous 208km Launceston to New Norfolk Classic. Then, with only one day off, the 22-year-old will lead his seven team-mates in the Tour of Tasmania which starts in Hobart on Tuesday.

Despite the imposing terrain, the classic, which starts at 9am from the Country Club Casino in Prospect and takes in the 1000m Poatina climb around the 50km mark, may not present a difficult assignment for Haas. He’ll have the backing of two highly-acclaimed Genesys team-mates, last year’s New Norfolk winner and Scody Cup champion Patrick Shaw, and the rising star Steele Von Hoff who this year has won five stages of the Tour of Gippsland, another two in the Tour of Geelong, and a further five in the Tour of the Murray River.

The Launceston to New Norfolk is the start of an eight-day feast of cycling for Tasmania – a prospect that Haas relishes. “I am coming to Tasmania this year to win the tour. In my heart it’s the biggest race in Australia. I love how pure it is – the course is so brutal,” Haas said. “I have done a reconnaissance on nearly every one of the 10 stages. The stage three from Hamilton to Bronte Park (78.6kms) is something else. It’s where the tour is going to be lost or won.”

Haas has earned tour favouritism courtesy of his decisive victories in the Tour of Gippsland in July and the Tour of Geelong last month. See him in New Norfolk this Sunday around 2pm in Circle St.

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