Surprise Giro call up for Tom Scully
Southland cyclist Tom Scully has received a surprise call up for his second ever Grand Tour race.
The 28-year-old EF Education First–Drapac p/b Cannondale rider was as shocked as anyone when he was included at late notice in the starting roster for the Giro d’Italia, one of three Grand Tour races alongside the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, where Scully made his debut last year.
Scully has been on stand-by for the three-week, 21 stage Giro since being contacted by team director Charly Wegelius after missing out on a pre-Giro altitude training camp.
Despite that, the Commonwealth Games gold medalist’s inclusion came so late he isn’t even recognised on the Giro’s official website.
“This is World Tour cycling, you just have to be ready for when these phone calls come,” Scully said.
“You hear of stories like this every now and again in extreme cases - the last minute call up and you’ve just got to be ready to go.”
Wegelius told Scully he had been impressed with the former Academy Southland member’s professionalism and flexibility, two factors which had contributed significantly to his call up.
“(It’s) been a good start to the year, at times a bit foggy in direction...but as the years go on I’m slowly getting it more dialled in (with) my approach to the season in Europe.”
Scully has graduated through the national road championships in January, to the Tour Down Under and a team training camp in Spain.
Then it was on to the cobblestones of Belgium before Paris-Nice in mid-March and a return to Belgium for E3 Harelbeke, Gent Wevelgem, Dwars Door Vlaandaren (where Scully was called into the starting team after his performance at Gent Wevelgem), the Tour of Flanders, Scheldiprijs and Paris-Roubaix.
“I’ve come to learn about 20% of the whole picture at this level is the bike riding part, the rest is a big mental game, being professional, and just generally a nice person, getting along with colleagues from all corners of the world.”
Scully’s job will not be to win stages at the Giro, he has been charged with providing support for his team’s Italian sprinter Sacha Modolo, with seven stages in this year’s race set up for a sprint finish.
Juanma Garate, one of the team's two director for the Giro, said Scully would not just be making up the numbers.
"Tom is a really important piece in our Giro puzzle. He did the cobbled Classics, and he really knows how to position himself and his teammates in the bunch under stressful conditions. This is super important for Sacha and Mike (Woods). If Tom finds himself in the breakaway and it's his day, watch out."
The 2018 Giro d’Italia starts on Friday (NZ time) in Jerusalem, the first time a Grand Tour race has started outside Europe, and finishes in Rome, for just the third time in the race’s 101-year history, on May 27.
Scully remains grateful for the support he has received throughout his career.
“I do think about where I’ve come from when it gets hard whilst racing and it goes motivate me to dig deep, at the time of suffering. As I glance through the 21 stages over the next month there is going to be a fair bit of that.”