Credit: Cycling Australia / Con Chronis / Zac Williams
Sarah Gigante (TIBCO-SVB) produced a superb ride to win a nail-biting 2020 Road National Championships time-trial by just nine seconds over Grace Brown (Mitchelton-Scott) with Emily Herfoss (Roxsolt-Attaquer) just behind in third.
Gigante was the toast of the national championships in 2019 after her show-stealing victory as an 18-year-old in the road race. She added a time-trial national title to her increasingly impressive palmares in Ballarat in 2020, swooping around the 28.6 kilometre course in a time of 42 minutes and 41 seconds.
“I’m absolutely stoked,” said Gigante. “The time trial is always the race of truth so I was just trying to give it my best shot. It’s my first time racing in the Team TIBCO-SVB colours and I just can’t believe I was able to win the elite time trial!
“I don’t think I’ve beaten any of the ladies in the top five before and only beaten them once in a race before – last year’s nationals – I’m just so stoked.”
The effervescent personality of Gigante shone through after the race and on the hotseat as she awaited the arrival of her competitors.
“Only ten seconds separated the top three… I was meant to be sitting down in the hotseat but I was just standing next to the computer biting everything,” said Gigante. “I probably put holes in my new skinsuit, I was just so excited!”
“I’ve been training really hard for nationals so it has been a target. Last year I came seventh in the elite time trial, so I was hoping for a top five finish.”
While last year’s road race result could have been plenty to cause a young cyclist to rest on her laurels, Gigante has redoubled her efforts over the past season as she heads into the WorldTour with TIBCO-SVB in 2020.
With high-school studies behind her, Gigante could intensify her focus on the bike, and credited her new coach with her change as an athlete.
“I didn’t have a coach before last January after nationals I started working with Dylan Lindsey of Pinnacle Performance coaching and it’s made a huge difference,” said Gigante. “I liked time-trialling before, but I didn’t focus much training on it as much as I have this past year.”
“Thanks Dylan, thanks so much for all those hard ergos and efforts… I just can’t believe it.”
With Tokyo 2020 selection the big carrot this year, Gigante won’t gain an automatic selection to the Olympic squad with the win, but it surely won’t hurt her case for selection for the four road race spots and two time trial positions.
“The most I can do I is train hard and do my best in all the races and see what happens,” said Gigante of potential Olympic selection. “I’m not behind the scenes and I don’t get to choose the selections or anything. Just keep trying my hardest and having fun and see where it takes me.”
Gigante also won the Under 23 womens TT from Jaime Gunning (Specialized Women’s Racing) and Emily Watts (Subaru-Giant).
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Written by Jamie Finch-Penninger