New season, new bike… part two
On Monday 7 January, the Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisors team hosted a launch in Melbourne. It was an opportunity to showcase one of the most line-ups on the Australian domestic scene as well as show off the new Avanti bikes that will be used for the 2013 season. Following on from our impromptu chat with Matt Lloyd about his bike, we get a once-over the Corsa Aero thanks to a chat between team-mates Jonathan Lovelock and Anthony Giacoppo.
Anthony Giacoppo and his Avanti
11 January 2013
– By Jonathan Lovelock
[Note: This is the first contribution to RIDE from Mr Lovelock. He has a few surprises coming up in the next issue... the photos for this piece come from our good friend Andy White of Fyxomatosis.]
There was a once-revered man who coined the phrase “It’s not about the bike”. Perhaps it would be a bit cheeky to call that man a ‘dope’, but it is about the bike. It’s all about the bike.
It’s about owning a bike that you fall in love with. Owning a bike that makes you want to go riding. Owning a bike, that in reality, owns you.
That is not to say that the contribution to one’s performance is dependent on the bike they ride. Putting an average rider on an above average bike will not, to use common parlance; turn a donkey into a race horse. Nonetheless, for professionals and amateurs alike there should always be a loving relationship between a bike and it’s rider. The more you like your bike, the more you enjoy your bike, the more you want to ride it. Whether it’s a passion or profession it is certainly all about the bike.
The Huon-Salmon Genesys Wealth Advisors team has spent three very successful years aboard the Malvern Star range. Since developing a strong working relationship with Sheppard Cycles – the distributor for both the Malvern Star and Avanti ranges – the team has made the choice to come aboard the new Avanti range. The strength of the relationship was evident at the recent Jayco-Herald Sun Tour where Huon-Genesys riders were are aboard their new steeds looking ready and relaxed. It certainly presents a logistical challenge having races of the Sun Tours calibre at the very beginning of the year when most teams are still scrambling to deliver new kit and new bikes to riders all over our sunburnt country.
Seeing the team looking poised and professional struck a good cord for Avanti fans, and the results, two stage wins, second overall, overall teams GC, a second place in the prologue and the sprinters jersey, didn’t hurt either.
In mid-2011 riders were given the choice between the new Corsa aero frame and an updated Quantum frame. Here we have a quick chat with 2012 Australian criterium champion, Anthony Giacoppo about the characteristics of the new Corsa frame. It’s been talked up a lot, so the question is, does it live up to the hype?
With the help of future contributor to RIDE, Jonathan Lovelock – a team-mate of Giacoppo – we find out what the rider thinks of his Avanti Corsa Aero…
Jonathan Lovelock (for RIDE): A big change is the swap from the Malvern Star Oppy frame over to the new Corsa. What are your initial impressions? What stands out the most?
Anthony Giacoppo: “I definitely like the shape of the frame. Being aero is why I chose it but it also looks cool! It’s got to have that appeal. Riding it? I guess I’ve noticed that it’s definitely a lighter bike, it’s definitely a lot stiffer than the Malvern Star was and even more responsive. So it’s kinda ticking all the boxes. It’s a great all-rounder bike.”
Lovelock: We know you are a good crit rider, and road rider of course, but in regards to crits – and sprinting in particular – do you set up your geometry in more of an aggressive ‘up and over’ the bottom bracket track-style, or do you prefer a laid back climbing position?
Giacoppo: “I don’t set it up based around a criterium or sprinting in particular. It’s kinda how I’ve always ridden a bike [as it is currently set up]. It might even be the wrong set up, I don’t know…”
Lovelock: But if it ain’t broke don’t fix it…
Giacoppo: “Yeah it’s what I’m used to and it’s what I stick with. If anything it’s more laid back than an ‘average’ position. I do opt for a 130mm stem on a smaller frame which seems common to most sprinters. I like the idea of a slightly smaller bike. It feels a bit like a BMX bike. (Giacoppo, much like one particularly famous Aussie sprinter from Queensland – ie. McEwen – made his mark early in his career as a BMX rider.) You can kinda throw it around a bit…”
Lovelock: What about your bars? What width are you using?
Giacoppo: “At the moment I am riding 42cm [measured centre-to-centre]. Last year I went with 40s. Last year I thought the 40s were cool but this year I think the 42s are even better.”
Lovelock: Okay, but I thought you might want to go with the narrowest bars possible so you can slip through little gaps?
Giacoppo: “Squeeze through the bunch? Yeah that was the idea behind the 40s last year ha ha! But um, I don’t know if it’s more leverage or not but I feel like I’ve got a bit more control with the wider bars.”
Lovelock: Another personal option is crank length, what length do you opt for?
Giacoppo: “I’m on 172.5mm cranks which is about standard for someone my height (178cm tall with a race weight of around 68kg).”
Lovelock: We heard in part one of this series that Matt Lloyd likes a longer crank for someone of his height. He even rode on 175mm cranks for a while. I guess it’s safe to say you’re a fan of something shorter for a bit more leg speed and to help you get on top of the gears a bit quicker.
Giacoppo: “Yeah pretty much, it’s a bit better for my sprinting that way.”
Lovelock: Speaking of cranks, you like to swap out the standard SRAM Red cranks and use your own SRAM SRM cranks don’t you?
Giacoppo: “Yeah I’m a bit of a power nut. I don’t really know what to do with it but I do like having the data there to look at! And I certainly like to swap the cranks between bikes [note: team riders are issued with a training, racing and time trial bike from Avanti] to the point where I just ordered a second set the other day.”
Lovelock: I’ve noted though that the difference between the 2013 SRAM Red cranks and the SRM cranks you have is about 350 grams. The question is, are you concerned about carrying that up the hill every time on Sunday in the national road race championships?
Giacoppo: *Looks uneasy*
RIDE: Or should I have just not said that? *Laughter*
Giacoppo: “Yeah you probably shouldn’t have told me that! But I think not seeing numbers on the handlebars would probably a bit worse than having to carry the extra 300g for my head!”
Lovelock: The team has introduced a new sponsor in Speedplay pedals. As with many teams, though, the riders are free to purchase alternate seats or pedals etc if they have any personal injuries or preferences that dictate what equipment they use. Have you taken the new pedals on board?
Giacoppo: “Yeah I got on the Speedplay to train with as soon as possible. [The team used Look’s Keo pedals in 2012.] They definitely felt a little odd at the start. But once you set them up right and work out how they work, they’re a great pedal.”
Lovelock: Do you have any float in your cleats?
Giacoppo: “I’ve tried to eliminate as much as possible but there is still a little bit there. I’ve got no problems with my knees though.”
Lovelock: What about seats? Have you gone with one of the Avanti saddles of have you swapped it out for a personal preference?
Giacoppo: “I’ve taken a personal choice and gone out and bought a rival brand so the less said, the better…”
Lovelock: I guess one thing we haven’t covered in relation to the new Corsa frame is that although it is stiff and light, is it still comfortable to ride?
Giacoppo: “Yeah there was concern when we were choosing our frames about whether the Corsa was going to be too harsh a ride or not. Honestly though, I haven’t had too many issues with it.
“I am one who gets lower back pains from time to time but I haven’t had any major issues yet.”
Lovelock: Another aspect is comparing the new SRAM Red to the old SRAM Red, have you noticed anything new? What stands out?
Giacoppo: “I personally like the longer lever and the slightly different shape of the hood. I find it works quite well. The biggest change is certainly in the front derailleur. The changing mechanism is a lot smoother. The other thing I really like is the self-centring break, that makes life a bit easier.”
Lovelock: You’ve spent plenty of hours working on bikes as a mechanic back in a previous lifetime in Perth. In terms of workability to you find the frame and the new bike easy to work with? Specifically with the internal cabling, is that giving you any headaches?
Giacoppo: “Internal cabling I guess is quite a popular thing these days, it’s probably on 90 per cent of bikes. It does create a bit of an issue when you’re trying to run old cables through a frame so it’s a bit of pain in that sense. I guess the lesson is to always have some new cables lying around if you need to tinker with your bike.”
Lovelock: The final thing is, are you going to win the road race on Sunday aboard your new Avanti?
Giacoppo: *Laughter* “Well, I’ll certainly be giving it a shot. If it’s not me winning, hopefully it’s one of the other boys in the Huon-Genesys stable.” [He says this whilst looking accusingly at his team-mate and interviewer who has just put him so awkwardly on the spot!]
So there you have it. A run down on the new bike for the Huon-Genesys team for 2013. They say it’s better than the Oppys they rode in the past, but if they don’t match their 2011 win tally, maybe that will prove that it’s not about the bike after all?
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[RIDE Cycling Review photographed at least one bike from every WorldTour team at last year's Tour Down Under. Visit the 'Album' links of our Facebook page to find more galleries.]
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