Getting through a warm-up that Joseph Cooper says is almost harder than the actual race may be the reason why the Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers rider delivered such a dominant time trial performance on Stage 2 at the Woodside Tour de Perth. The Kiwi national TT champion has been working on the discipline for the past year or so and believes that with the way he prepares for individual tests against the clock, it's almost certain that he will perform well.
"The time trial is something I've been working on for the past 12 months," Cooper told Cyclingnews. "Everytime I get to a time trial I think, 'yep I've got a chance to get a result'. I just have go through the process and usually at the end of the day something happens.
"The time trial is sort of based all around my warm-up. Generally if I can get through the warm-up and feel good then I should be able to produce the watts I need for a good time trial. I don't do anything in training to work on that because when you are out training solo it feels like a time trial anyway.
"I can't really give away any secrets," joked Cooper when asked about his warm-up routine. "It's about 45 minutes of a fairly intense nature - almost harder than the actual race. In effect that makes the TT feel pretty simple," he added.
Cooper, who signed with the 'Tassie' outfit at the end of 2012 has been a serious threat to win nearly every TT he's entered so far in 2013. The 27-year-old opened the New Year with second-place in the Prologue at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, won the New Zealand national TT title and then went on to win a stage at home in the NZ Cycle Classic.
The stage at NZ Cycle Classic in January was the opening stage, a 7.1km TT, where he bested teammate Campbell Flakemore by 12 seconds and former Australian road champion Darren Lapthorne (Drapac Professional Cycling). After the opening stage Cooper looked after the interests of the team and helped set-up the overall victory for his teammate Nathan Earle. After NZ he took a bronze medal at the Oceania TT Championships before shipping out to Tour de Taiwan where Earle again won a stage.
Earle is also in attendance at Perth and could be one of the "many cards" that Huon Salmon-Genesys has up their sleeve along with Perth local Anthony Giacoppo who will start Stage 3 in eighth-place. With five Huon Salmon-Genesys riders sitting in the top-10 including Sun Tour stage winner Aarron Donnelly and U23 bronze medallist from the Australian Road Championships Jack Haig, anything is possible, especially given today's tougher stage situated in the Perth Hills.
"We've already ridden the course, it's definitely challenging but not any harder than anything we've encountered before so we will just go through the process of how we will go about defending the jersey and give it our best shot," Cooper told Cyclingnews.
"I've ridden it [Zig Zag] once and it's not steep at all just fast, but then you have to slow right down and almost come back on yourself. It's not a very big u-turn, almost like a hot-dog turn. You come to nearly a complete stop, turn and then accelerate out of it. If you are not in the top-10 wheels you will just be getting that elastic band effect and by the top turn you could be almost 500m back in a long line.
"I should be able to just muscle my way up there. It's not something I'm overly concerned with. We have a lot of different cards we can play if the first card doesn't play out."