Three stage wins at the last-up Tour of Gippsland was enough to get Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers' sprinter Anthony Giacoppo "back on track" with the 27-year-old hoping it's a springboard to success for the remainder of the year.
West Australian Giacoppo, defending champion at this week's seventh round of the Subaru National Road Series (NRS) event, the Tour of the Great South Coast, has been in training at the squad's home base with team manager Andrew Christie-Johnston in Tasmania with the short gap between races. With some members of Huon-Genesys headed to Asia for the Tour of Borneo, it's a different line-up that takes on Great South Coast with just half of the team in action from Gippsland.
"It will be interesting to see what comes of it because I'd definitely like to go there and win the Tour," Giacoppo told Cyclingnews. "I'll certainly try and get some more stage wins along the way and if I can do that I'll be pretty happy."
The overall victory at Gippsland escaped Huon-Genesys by just one second with Budget Forklift's Jack Anderson taking a well-deserved win. It was only the second time this season that the Orange Army had been defeated in the NRS after Euride Racing took their home event, the Adelaide Tour. While admitting such a narrow margin was cause for reflection, Giacoppo says that the team is a long way from being in a comfort zone as they chase the NRS team prize for the fourth-straight season.
"As a team we don't expect to win everything," the 2012 Australian Criterium Champion explained. "Whilst we certainly did have a really strong team at Gippsland that could have won it, it did only come down to one second. There was no hard feelings or anything within the team but when you miss out on the win by so small of a margin you start going 'I wish this had of happened' or 'I wish I could have done this'… you start looking back on performances and you realise where that second was."
The stakes will be just that little bit higher this week with the return of the Drapac squad returning to the series for the first time since the Tour of Toowoomba in May, with Giacoppo wrestling the overall lead off Darren Lapthorne with two stages remaining in 2012. With Huon-Genesys and Drapac representing the powerhouses of Australian domestic racing, and the latter having announced that they will be stepping up to the Professional Continental ranks in 2014 with a start at the WorldTour event the Tour Down Under on the line, the battle between the two teams should prove intriguing. Giacoppo, for one, is expecting more than a two-horse race with Budget getting stronger by the round, and Euride bolstered by a World Champion from the track in Alex Edmondson.
Giacoppo however is throwing down the gauntlet to Budget Forklifts' sprinter, Jesse Kerrison. The 19-year-old won his fourth sprint classification in a row at Gipppsland thanks again mainly to his concentration on the intermediates, but Giacoppo believes Kerrison's attention would be better focused elsewhere.
"I didn't do a single intermediate at Gippsland," Giacoppo said. "I think I might have ran second or third in the sprint jersey. Andrew asked me on the first day if I was interested in going for it and I said no. I don't really see the point to be honest. I prefer to save my legs, sprint once at the end of the stage and win the stage rather than sprint twice and not be able to sprint at the end.
"I think what Budget is doing is rather silly because Kerrison is fast enough to win stages so I don't see what the point is of going for the sprint jersey. At the end of the day no one is going to remember it."