The Tour of Tasmania served as not only the final tour in the Australian National Road Series calendar but it also marked the final event in the Scody Cup. While Lachlan Norris (Drapac) was celebrating his overall win in the five-day race, Genesys Wealth Advisers' Anthony Giacoppo was also toasting a victory - the Scody Cup title.
The four-round Scody Cup series had been one of Giacoppo's objectives from the beginning of the year and he worked hard to win it. He moved from his hometown in Perth ahead of the Tour of Gippsland in August, "retired from full-time work" and moved to Hobart, Tasmania for better training and a more structured program.
"At the start of the season I certainly went in with the ambition of doing well in the Scody Cup. I wanted to win it but it definitely became a reality on Sunday," Giacoppo told Cyclingnews.
"Last year it [moving to Tasmania] was something that Steele [Von Hoff] and [Nathan] Haas did. Andrew [Christie-Johnson] got them a house and they basically spent a few months down here. I'm not at home so I don't have to work so it's like being on a constant training camp."
The first round at the Tour of Gippsland looked to be the ideal start to Giacoppo's Scody Cup campaign; he won a stage and held the overall lead for six stages until losing the lead on the penultimate day to eventual winner Will Walker (Drapac). After working for the team for most of last year, Giacoppo admits that being the leader has taken some getting used to.
"This year all the guys who have been winners were domestiques last year," the 26-year-old said. "Everyone has certainly stepped up and we've had new guys come in and they are all learning the ropes, the same as many of us who are now getting the chance to win.
"It's great to have the guys behind you, when you've got all the guys riding for you. There is that added bit of pressure because they are all putting faith in you. If you don't do the job at the end of day you feel like you have let them down because you haven't done what they expected or hoped. In saying that it does help when you've got seven guys there pouring everything out. It makes you push that little bit harder to go for the win."
Losing the overall at Gippsland was a disappointment that he and team quickly bounced back from. He turned up to the next round at Tour of the Great South Coast and won a stage on the way to taking out the general classification. It was a close-fought win against Darren Lapthorne (Drapac) that went all the way to the final stage where he took the overall win by just five seconds.
Eyeing the NRS title
Giacoppo is feeling good ahead of the final one-day races of the year and he's motivated to try and take the NRS title from current leader Luke Davison (Budget Forklifts) however, it's this weekend's Melbourne to Warrnambool and the Shipwreck Coast Classic - which he won in 2011 - that suit him the most.
"Certainly coming into these one-day races I want to do well because I've still got the NRS title on the line," Giacoppo explained. "It's pretty close, [Luke] Davison is beating me by about 40 points (46 points) so I certainly want to try and snag that one as well."
Grafton to Inverell is a tougher race for the rider who considers himself more of a sprinter but with such a long distance still to cover after the most decisive point of the race, the Gibraltar Range, he is not ruling himself out of a result.
"The thing with Grafton is the climb is pretty early on. I made it over the top a few years ago so I'm hoping to be able to do it again because there is still quite a lot of racing to go after the climb.
Giacoppo is hoping that his results accrued this year and perhaps those still to come at Warrnambool and Grafton will be enough to land him an offer on a bigger team in Europe. He's been lucky enough to be part of one of Australia's most professional set-ups and it's that experience that he'll look for when making his decision. There's a strong drive to achieve results and he won't be resting until he gets his chance.
"If I step up I want to go to a team that is going to give me a bit of a chance to chase my own results and not be left out," Giacoppo said. "As a sprinter you want to be able to give it a shot and ride some of the good races."
At this stage his manager Wayne Evans has been in contact with a few teams but with some of the most important one-day Australian races still to come, he is still gunning to get the results necessary in order to step up again in 2013.
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