Tour of Tasmania, Stage 1 By Scott Bradburn, Cellarbrations Racing Team 17km ITT to the top of Mt Wellington I had bad memories of this one from last year when it was run as a team?s TT. For me it was a team’s TT for 2km and then an ITT for the rest. When you tell the team you?re guest riding for you can climb, and that happens, you feel like a bit of a tool. Not cool at all. So this year I needed to make amends for pride if nothing else. After a decent tour in Canberra the team was also very motivated and three of us were targeting a Top 20 (stretch target!) with Josh a decent chance of a Top 10. If the goal was achieved, Rusty (DS) promised breakfast in bed the next morning. In return we promised him breakfast in bed if he made it through the day without swearing. He made through until 8.50am when he popped his head in the door to describe the wind and weather conditions. *Pre-Race* We rode out to the race an hour early and met Rusty who?d set up camp. We then debated what to wear. Normally this isn?t talked about for a time trial – you just put on a skin suit. Mt Wellington was a bit more complicated as it could be snowing at the top and getting too cold could affect performance. Plus I hate being cold more than I hate crits. I settled on normal kit with a warm under shirt. Correct choice. Some of the boys went the skin suit. Good luck to them. *The Race* As I got the count, the usual thoughts went through my head: ?Urrrghhh, here we go. This is going to suck…. it?s just an hour though… less probably. I hope I don?t puncture. I?m a little warm. Should have worn a skin suit.? 3, 2, 1… GO. Straight up a 12-18% gradient for 1-2km. I rode the first km conservatively and ?rode into it? like I always plan to ride a time trial but never actually do. As the kms ticked over I realised I was on a good one (for me) and began to close in on riders in front. As you do… I eased slightly before each catch and then accelerated when making the pass and concentrated harder on keeping perfect form. Accelerating like that isn?t the efficient or smart way to do it, but man I was going to make those guys think I?m really flying. At the top I crossed the line in 50.11 which was 4 minutes quicker than last year. Happy. It was enough for 30th but not enough for the sausages with toast. The team had a great day with Josh finishing 9th and our Danish import Andreas finishing in the top 50. The rest of the boys did great rides too and we?re sitting 6th on team GC tonight. The race today was dominated by Avanti, Search to Retain, Drapac and Budget which I?m sure will set the tone for the Tour. Ben Dyball took the win in a very fast time of 46.12. Weapon. Patrick Bevin and Tim Roe shared the podium. Times were pretty similar to last year despite it being an ITT rather than a TTT, which gives some indication of the raised standard this year. Conditions were just as challenging with frozen hands felt about 4km from the top and numb legs not long after. I?ll finish this report off with a quote of the day, which was just too special not to be published: ?Hobart reminds me a lot of New Zealand…? Which part of NZ? ?Argh. I haven’t been to NZ yet but I reckon they’d be very similar, eh.? Josh Berry, 2014.