ANTHONY Giacoppo is primed to give the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships criterium in Ballarat tonight a real shake.
Giacoppo put his name up in lights to take gold in the elite men’s championship in Sturt Street last year.
And he is ready to again light up a central business district packed with thousands of spectators if the race falls his way.
Giacoppo, who rides for Huon Salmon Genesys Wealth Advisers, is aware that as reigning champion it will be more difficult to get under the guard of major rivals.
He is not concerned though.
The West Australian is also mindful that depth is a strength of his team and he is just one of its members who could ride into contention for the title.
Giacoppo was able to sit back in the pack last year while the likes of his team captain, Ballarat’s Pat Shaw, rode aggressively near the front to help control the race.
He told The Courier last night that he was hoping to adopt similar tactics in what was a star-studded line-up.
Giacoppo is coming off a big 2012.
As well as winning the national title, he was Tour of Taiwan and Tour of Borneo stage winner, he won in Japan and was a multiple stage winner and ultimately second overall in the National Road Series.
He has also played a key role in a strong start to the new year by the team, having topped the bill in the Herald Sun Tour leading into these championships.
“There’s a good feeling” he said.
Giacoppo said while the criterium was always a goal, he was hoping for a big result in Sunday’s road race at Buninyong.
Tonight’s elite men’s criterium field features a string of world class riders, including past champion Jonathon Cantwell, the exciting Leigh Howard, Steel Von Hoff and Cameron Meyer, who are all sure to be marked men.