BUNINYONG, Australia (CT) – Katrin Garfoot (Orica-Scott) delivered a victory in the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships time trial for a second consecutive year, coming to the finish line completely spent after she set a blistering pace to beat Shara Gillow (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine) by a hefty 1 minute and 55.18 seconds.
The elation you might expect at such a hard fought and decisive win, though was restrained in the post-race media conference. Not surprisingly Garfoot looked hot and exhausted, but also seemed flat and expressed disappointment at the lack of support from the national sports funding organisation to give her the opportunity to perform at her best level as she contemplates the approaching end of her cycling career.
“It (the national title) does mean a lot to me after the Olympics where I couldn’t get the result I wanted and getting the third at Worlds, which was good but just a few seconds off the first,” Garfoot told reporters. “In the overall scheme a third doesn’t count as anything towards my funding, which I’m pretty frustrated by, so it’s good to show them that I’m actually worth it.”
The 35-year-old Garfoot said she will change focus a little this year, looking to the GC at the Giro Rosa mid-year and also flagged that next year’s Commonwealth Games in Brisbane could potentially be the last race of her career.
“At my age – I’m ancient – you wonder why you are doing this and you wonder should you not get screaming children and settle down to family and all that, so I weigh it all up. I don’t get superannuation, I’m on little pay, how much can I ask my husband to support me,” she said. “He is very supportive but how long can you actually do that, as a female it’s pretty tough.”
How the time trial played out
The riders set off with the wind behind them, knowing that it would be a tough return on the undulating 29.3 kilometre out-and-back course. The bronze medallist at the 2016 World Championships time trial already had closed in by over 40 seconds on Gillow by the half way mark, making a catch of the rider who started one minute ahead of her almost inevitable.
“I wanted to go out easy with the tailwind, which didn’t happen, and then just try to keep on it on the way back which was obviously slower than the way out, and harder, and did hurt more,” said Garfoot. “I just tried to count down every ten seconds or something, just go from kilometre to kilometre and when it was only 2 kilometres to go I knew just to smash it.”
Then she came over the finish line in 43 minutes and 5.2 seconds, so far ahead that Gillow wasn’t even yet in sight.
“I definitely left it all out there,” Garfoot told reporters. “The pressure was on even though I tried not to let it get to me, its just there. I was nervous, just wondering if I could do it again.”
“You never know how fit the others are at that stage of the year and I didn’t know how fit I was because it was such a short training block from the worlds,” said Garfoot. “I was just hoping that it would all come together today and it did.”
Back 3 minutes 14.12 seconds it was an excited Kate Perry (Specialized Women’s Racing) who took third to round out the podium, a result that she described as good as a gold medal for her given the company she was keeping on the podium.
Alexandra Manly (Orica-Scott) took the under 23 title with tenth place overall in her first appearance at the Australian National Championships.
“How did it I handle it? I wasn’t really thinking too much about it. Kinda just one hill at a time,” Manly told reporters.
The new under 23 time trial champion said team mate and Dutch time trial champion Annemiek van Vleuten was in the car behind, talking her through the time trial in the earpiece. “That got me through,” said Manly.
|1.||17||Katrin GARFOOT (ORS)||43:05.20|
|3.||46||Kate PERRY (SPW)||46:19.32||+3:14.1|
|4.||63||Rebecca WIASAK (HFD)||46:32.51||+3:27.3|
|6.||35||Louisa LOBIGS (HWC)||47:21.79||+4:16.5|
|10.||40||Alexandra MANLY (ORS)||W23||48:39.28||+5:34.0|
The next and final women’s race of the Australian Road Nationals is the road race on Sunday, which you can find a preview of here.