Grafton to Inverell Classic: One of the Grafton riders passes Tindall Road, 15 klms west of Grafton. Photo: Lynne Mowbray/The Daily Examiner
Grafton to Inverell Classic: One of the Grafton riders passes Tindall Road, 15 klms west of Grafton. Photo: Lynne Mowbray/The Daily Examiner Lynne Mowbray

Jamieson sees the silver lining on Cycling Classic assault

GRAFTON to Inverell Cycle classic record-holder Mark Jamieson will be back to defend his crown in the event this year after 12 months of highs and lows.

Jamieson, 28, set the record last year after he attacked from the early stages of the 228km race and came out on top after a sprint finish down Inverell's main street.

After claiming our prestigous road race, Jamieson then set about one of the most fulfilling missions he had ever tackled.

As pilot for blind paralympic cyclist Bryce Lindores, Jamieson was out to help the rider on the biggest stage of all.

``Overall it's been a good, really fulfilling year," Jamieson said.

``We trained hard for the paralympics, and I had to put on a lot of body weight to pair better with Bryce who is a fair bit bigger than me."

``For him to win a Silver Medal at the London Games was an outstanding result."

It was a result tinged with disappointment for Jamieson however, after his visa application to travel to the United Kingdom was rejected and Lindores went on to win the medal with former pilot Sean Finning.

``It was very disappointing not to be there with him after we put in all the hard work together, but it was a great result and I'm extremely proud I was a part of his success," Jamieson said.

``As pilot I do the steering as Bryce is blind, but I pedal as well.

``We are connected via a carbon belt drive similar to what you'd find on a Harley Davidson motorcylce, and we have to pedal in rhythm.

``If either one of us has an off day and are not putting in then we are in real trouble, it is all about teamwork."

In last year's Classic, Jamieson was originally trying to set up victory for his high profile team-mate and Tour De Italy regular Matthew Lloyd.

But in a mid race change of tactics, Lloyd elected to remain in the peloton and not catch up to the leading pack, leaving Jamieson to fight out a sprint finish to claim the 2011 Classic in record time.

``Cycling as a team has a lot to do with mutual respect," Jamieson said.

``Unfortunately the team I was riding with folded last month, but I've been invited to ride for the team sponsored by Inverell's Aussie Hotel.

``I think we shgould go quite well actually, I've been doing a fair bit of training with team-mate Geoff Straub and I'm looking forward to riding the race with them."

The Grafton to Inverell begins in Grafton at 8am on Saturday and as it's name suggests, concludes in Inverell.

The Great Dividing Range adds a huge degree of difficulty to the 228km ecourse which is one of Australia's toughest and most prestigous one day road races.



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