Former Australian national criterium champion Anthony Giacoppo (Avanti Isowhey Sport) began the Spirit of Tasmania Tour of Tasmania in style on Wednesday, winning the Hudson Civil Products prologue in inclement Launceston conditions...
With strong winds and occasional rain providing a real test for the riders, the West Australian powered to the top of the 670 metre uphill course. Giacoppo stopped the clock in one minute and 42 seconds, while Cameron Ivory (GPM Stulz) and Peter Livingstone (mobius Future Racing) rounded out the podium.
“I had come out here for the past few days and ridden the course, to get a feeling for how hard to go in certain areas,” Giacoppo explained post-race. “I started out reasonably evenly, and then really went for it after the minute mark. I died in the last 10 seconds, but obviously can’t complain with that result.”
Launceston has happy memories for Giacoppo, who won the Stan Siejka Launceston Cycling Classic in late 2015. Following his prologue victory the Avanti rider commented on his love of riding in the region.
“There is always some fantastic racing here,” he said. “I like Launceston slightly better when the sun is out, but it is always a great place to ride – the roads, the hills, you just can’t fault it!”
Avanti Isowhey Sport’s strong start is an ominous sign for other teams eager to contest the historic Spirit of Tasmania Tour of Tasmania. Avanti’s Joe Cooper has won three consecutive Subaru National Road Series events, and will be just one of several contenders from the Avanti team capable of challenging for the yellow jersey this week.
“We have a handful of guys who can get the job done,” continued Giacoppo. “The stage three Poatina climb is going to be the big challenge, and whoever has the legs on that day will take the Tour. In our team we have Ben O’Connor, Chris Hamilton, Robbie Hucker, Pat Shaw, Jason Lea, Joe Cooper – they all have what it takes.”
For GPM Stulz’s Ivory, his podium finish was a special result. The former mountain biker finished less than a second behind Giacoppo, in a strong showing as he prepares for the gruelling four stages ahead.
“I am pretty stoked with that,” said Ivory. “I came third in the Tour de Perth prologue last year, but the podium was called off due to bad weather, so to be able to stand on the podium today is pretty exciting.”
The Spirit of Tasmania Tour of Tasmania continues on Thursday with the 119.1-kilometre Bicycle Beer Stage 1, starting in picturesque seaside George Town and concluding with a mountaintop finish in Grindelwald.