With the SCODY Cup all but sealed, Anthony Giacoppo will launch a Tasmanian assault that he hopes will help lead him to a similar cycling path taken by a pair of his former Genesys teammates.
I always wanted to follow in the footsteps of Steele and Haasy. It’s been great to watch them in the Tour of Britain, and to see Nathan in the front group in a race like that shows the domestic scene here really has some depth in it. When you see someone making a difference in those big races, it gives you a bit of confidence.
The West Australian will contest next week’s Caterpillar Underground Mining Tour of Tasmania and Launceston to New Norfolk Classic – two events that played a key role in Steele Von Hoff and Nathan Haas advancing to the international stage.
Giacoppo holds an unassailable lead in the 2012 SCODY Cup, which will culminate with the Tour of Tasmania, to be raced 2 - 7 October.
Last year Von Hoff clinched the classic and overall cup honours, while Genesys Wealth Advisers teammate Haas was the Tour of Tassie champion and series runner-up.
“I guess at the start of the season, it was something I said I’d like to do well in,” Giacoppo said of the SCODY Cup, Australia’s premier domestic road cycling series, founded in 1996.
“And I always wanted to follow in the footsteps of Steele and Haasy.
“It’s been great to watch them in the Tour of Britain, and to see Nathan in the front group in a race like that shows the domestic scene here really has some depth in it.
“When you see someone making a difference in those big races, it gives you a bit of confidence.”
The 26-year-old only has to look at another SCODY Cup winner, Jonathan Cantwell (2009), to see that the four-part series is a launching pad, with Cantwell, 30, making his Tour de France debut this year.
Giacoppo leads the SCODY Cup with 259 points, followed by Team Budget Forklifts’ Luke Davison (236 points), who is the Subaru National Road Series (NRS) leader and has not entered for Tasmania.
“Even with Luke there, it would’ve been hard for him to win the SCODY Cup,” Giacoppo said.
“He would’ve had to win two or three stages without me placing.
“It’s certainly a nice thing to have but I still want to go after the NRS (lead).”
The reigning Australian criterium champion plans to use Tassie to narrow the gap between himself and Davison in the NRS, which stands at 102 points.
“But in saying that, looking at the start list, there are some quite good sprinters in the tour that haven’t been doing the NRS this year – the likes of Ben Grenda, Phil Grenfell and Scott Law,” he said.
“It’s always good to have some fresh faces in there.”
Giacoppo hopes he is standing at the top of the podium after the brutal 208km trek from Launceston to New Norfolk on Sunday, which will welcome a record 80 riders.
“I think the Launceston to New Norfolk is a race I have a good chance of winning but the Tour of Tasmania, I’m not so much of a chance for GC,” he said.
“I’ll definitely be looking for a stage win though.”
He described the Apple Isle as his “home away from home”, highlighted by the rider heading south to Hobart after the Jayco Tour of the Murray River (September 2 – 9), rather than going home to Western Australia.
The harsh Tassie terrain is something he is prepared for.
“I was saying to the guys that my recovery days in Tassie are tougher than my harder days in Perth,” he said.
He has endured some big training days in Tasmania to prepare for one-day races like the Launceston to New Norfolk and Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic (October 13).
“I’ve had a few solid days here and there with some climbing, because it’s hard to get away from a hill in Tassie,” he said.
“On my day I can climb fairly well but I guess more often than not, the sprints suit me better.”
The Tour of Tasmania, which has attracted a record field of 153, starts in Hobart next Tuesday with a team time trial to the top of Mount Wellington.
The following stage, a 123.5km road race from New Norfolk to Lake Pedder, and stage four, a 101.2km trek from Hagley to Great Lake, could see Giacoppo pinch a victory from the renowned climbers.
“The slightly more difficult stages are more to my liking,” he said.
“When it’s not as congested coming to the finish, it makes it a little bit easier for me.
“(You need) a bit of a luck though, just getting yourself into the right position and not being swamped when there’s a big bunch.”
The tour will showcase seven municipalities – Hobart City, Derwent Valley, Meander Valley, Central Highlands, Central Coast, Burnie City and Devonport City.
Devonport will host the finale, a waterfront Kermesse, on Sunday, October 7.
The SCODY Cup races are part of Cycling Australia’s Subaru National Road Series, as is the Launceston to New Norfolk Classic.
The challenging nature of the classic is clear through the inaugural staging of the event in 2009, when only seven riders finished after enduring ferocious conditions.
This year there will again be a shorter race on offer for under 23 men and open women, who can ride 143kms from Launceston to Bothwell. The under 23 men’s category will be contested by 12 riders.
The 2012 classic starts at Country Club Tasmania, Prospect at 9am before finishing in New Norfolk at about 2pm.
It winds its way through Pateena, Longford, Cressy, Poatina, Arthur's Lake, St. Patrick's Plains, Steppes, Bothwell, Berridale, Hollow Tree, Rosegarland, Gretna, Hayes and Lawitta.