Dempster targets classics

 PURSUIT: Zak Dempster. Picture: Jarrod Partridge
PURSUIT: Zak Dempster. Picture: Jarrod Partridge

SEPTEMBER'S Tour of Britain is another major goal for central Victorian cycling star Zak Dempster as the European classics roll on.

Just hours after finishing his first Tour de France, Dempster said the focus was now on several one-day classics across Europe and then Britain's big race.

The Tour of Britain will be raced from September 7 to 14.

Racing begins with a criterium in Liverpool.

Dempster has headed back to home-base in Spain for some well-earned rest and relaxation.

"I will get back into training in a couple of days, but I am looking forward to spending some time at the beach and just chilling out."

He was among NetApp-Endura's squad of nine who all made their Tour de France debut.

The Tour rookies performed superbly to be 13th in the teams battle.

Highest-placed for NetApp-Endura was Leopold Konig from the Czech Republic in seventh place.

"The Tour de France was an incredible experience," Dempster said.

"There were massive highs, such as 11th in the stage finish in London, and then some lows such as punctures or disappointment of not going as well in a stage as you wanted to."

Dempster said the finish to this road season in Europe would include hit-outs in Britain, Belgium, Norway, France and Germany.

He has raced the Tour of Britain several times since he moved to Europe to pursue his cycling career when he was 18.

"It's been a roller-coaster ride over the years. To be racing in the Tour de France makes all the training worthwhile."

He began this year by being runner-up in the Mitchelton Wines-backed Bay Crtierium Series raced at Geelong, Portarlington and Williamstown.

Dempster was the June winner in the Bendigo Advertiser-Prime 7 Sports Star of the Year award. Now in its 50th year, Sports Star is proudly backed by Bendigo Bank.

To be racing across the Alps and Pyrenees was a long way from when his cycling career began racing around Eaglehawk's BMX track when he was nine.

He switched to track cycling when he was 13 and has gone on to win many events on the road and track.

Born in Castlemaine, Dempster later moved to Bendigo and studied at Catholic College Bendigo.

It was almost a decade ago when he shone in the track finals at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Bendigo.

Career highs include a Melbourne to Warrnambool victory, and Bendigo International Madison.

Dempster will return to Australia in October where training will be geared towards the national road championships.

He will then head back to Europe and begin the build-up to achieving the goal of a second Tour de France start.


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