Anthony Giacoppo (Avanti Isowhey Sport) has notched up his second victory in two days at the Spirit of Tasmania Tour of Tasmania, winning the Bicycle Beer Stage 1 on Thursday following an action-packed 115.1-kilometre race under cloudy skies...
Wearing the yellow jersey after his prologue victory in Launceston on Wednesday, the 2012 Australian national criterium champion outsprinted the peloton in Grindelwald to retain the general classification lead. Giacoppo was too fast in the final straight for Daniel Fitter (State of Matter/MAAP) and Tasmanian local Bernard Sulzberger (TIS Racing Team), who rounded out the podium.
“Two stages from two here at the Spirit of Tasmania Tour of Tasmania, I could not be happier,” exclaimed the jubilant West Australian following the stage. “A great start to the week for myself and the team. Hills are not my forte – I am more suited to the flatter courses – and today I only just hung on over the final climb. But I managed to stay on, contest the sprint and get away with the win.”
This five-day Tasmanian epic has a developed a long and distinguished history since first being won in 1930 by the legendary Sir Hubert ‘Oppy’ Opperman. In more recent years, the Tour has been a testing ground for promising Australian riders hoping to join the World Tour.
“The Spirit of Tasmania Tour of Tasmania is a massive race to be able to lead,” Avanti’s Giacoppo continued. “The likes of Cadel Evans, Richie Porte, Cameron Meyer have all won the event and then gone on to bigger and better things.”
Giacoppo now holds an eight second general classification lead over Alex West (mobius Future Racing) heading into the LAFM Stage 2. With Fitter and several of his State of Matter/MAAP colleagues also not far off the pace, Avanti IsoWhey Sport’s grip on the coveted yellow jersey is far from secure.
“We are feeling good about our overall prospects,” said Fitter, who has recently returned from a stint in Europe with the Jayco-AIS World Tour Academy, following his second-placing in Grindelwald. “We are definitely looking ahead to the next two days of tough climbing.”
After riding in a two-man breakaway alongside Rylee Field (GPM Stulz) for almost 100 kilometres, British rider Edward Clements (Oliver's Real Food Racing) was awarded the Most Aggressive Rider Cradle Coast Sports & Events Orange Jersey.
“I spent most of the day in the break dealing with tough roads and cross winds,” explained a tired Clements. “I thought there was a chance we were going to hang on, but then in the final stretch the gap went really quickly.”
The Spirit of Tasmania Tour of Tasmania continues on Friday, with the infamous Gunns Plains climb highlighting the LAFM Stage 2. The 91-kilometre race will begin in Devonport at 10.30am AEDT, before concluding by the seaside in Penguin.