Defending champion Peter Herzig is hoping a season away from the Subaru National Road Series (NRS) won’t hamper his chances of becoming only the second person in history to win two Grafton to Inverell Cycling Classics.
To be held this Saturday, the 228-kilometre Classic is the final race on the 2013 Subaru NRS calendar. Herzig is aiming for a repeat of his spectacular 2012 victory which saw him and team mate Michael Cupitt conquer the final 130 kilometres together to seal the quinella.
‘It’s a fantastic feeling to have won the Grafton, and to be able to do it with a teammate was fantastic,’ said Herzig, 35, who knows what it takes to claim victory, having ridden the gruelling one-day event eight times. ‘It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.’
The 2013 edition begins in the northern NSW town of Grafton, climbs the Gibraltar Range at the 87-kilometre mark before taking riders to the inland town of Inverell.
‘Grafton is all about conserving energy. A lot of people think that the Gibraltar Range is the hardest part, and you definitely have to get over it in a descent position, but after the climb is where the race really starts,’ said Herzig.
After claiming the 2012 crown, Herzig contemplated retirement to focus on completing his Masters degree in dietetics and nutrition. However, the Queenslander has kept one foot in the door, admitting the lure of success and love for the sport have made it difficult to completely walk away.
‘We discussed [my retirement] a fair bit last year, but it’s such a great sport and such a great team to ride for that I had to give it another year, even though it’s been a step back for me.
‘The Tour of Tasmania was my first NRS event for the year and it was a great help with my preparation. I was happy with the form there so I’m feeling pretty confident.’
Herzig will be joined by Cupitt, Kristian Juel, Josh Prete and Michael Vink, as well as Horgan and Anderson, who went one-two in the recent Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic.
‘It would be fantastic to add another victory to the successful year the team have had,’ said Herzig. ‘It might not be me, as the other guys have been riding really well, but we’ll just make sure one of us crosses the line first.’
Victoria’s Jack Haig is poised to take out the Subaru NRS individual crown while his Tasmanian-based outfit have sealed the overall teams rankings for the fourth year in a row.
More event information here.
|1.||Jack HAIG (HGP)||
|2.||Nathan EARLE (HGP)||
|3.||Jack ANDERSON (BFL)||
The 2013 Subaru NRS features 17 individual events across Australia and includes more than 75 days of racing.
The Grafton to Inverell will feature on SBS1 at 4pm on Sunday November 3 and again at 5pm Monday November 4.