Katrin Garfoot in class of her own in third Australian time trial title win

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BUNINYONG, Australia (CT) – For the third year in a row Katrin Garfoot (QAS) stood on the top step of the podium for the time trial at Australia’s FedUni Road National Championships, showing she’s clearly in a class of her own by extending her winning margin to well beyond two minutes.

Lucy Kennedy (Mitchelton-Scott) came second removing Shara Gillow (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) from her normal position on one of the top two podium steps. Alexandra Manly (Mitchelton-Scott) took out the Under 23 title for a second year in a row and in the Under 19’s Sarah Gigante (Holden Team Gusto) took her second national title of the week.

Garfoot, a two-time World Championship ITT bronze medallist, stamped her authority on the elite race early. She had the women that’s normally her nearest rival, Gillow, starting a minute ahead but had reeled her into sight when the time trial was only a quarter of the way through.

“The wheels just felt amazing, the bike felt really fast.  All the way out I had a tailwind,” Garfoot told reporters.

It looked like Garfoot would fly past Gillow in no time, but with three quarters of the 29.5 kilometre time trial to go, it was time to reel herself in instead.

“I went really fast in the beginning and I thought ‘maybe I shouldn’t go that fast yet because there’s a headwind and uphill coming home’. So I backed it off a bit I guess,” Garfoot added.

But not for long. Garfoot passed Gillow at the halfway mark and then flew home. She was leaving nothing to chance as she didn’t know if any one other than Gillow was posing a threat. It turns out they weren’t.

It took 41 minutes and 45 seconds for Garfoot to complete the 29.5 kilometre out and back time-trial course in Bunninyong. Kennedy was 2 minutes 35 behind and Gillow back another five seconds. Grace Brown (Holden Team Gusto) was the only other rider within two minutes of the podium, missing out on a spot on the third step by just five seconds.

A dominant duo

The time trial, has, for many years been dominated by Garfoot and Gillow. Since the German born Garfoot joined the fray, she has held the top step. However she is yet to rival Gillow’s four national titles.

Gillow tried to politely hide her disappointment as she stood on the podium in third place.  But it was clear, that after standing on the first or second step of the podium every year since 2011, taking a step down to third wasn’t the performance she had been looking for.

I’m always going to go for the win when I go into a race,” Gillow told reporters. “I’m a little bit disappointed but I gave it my best on the day.”

Shara Gillow used to have the stranglehold on the national time trial stripes. Pic: cyclephotos

Kennedy, on the other hand was elated and surprised to have made the leap to the second step. It was a far cry from last year’s disastrous run where a dropped chain, faulty radio and flapping helmet, made it seem like nothing would go right.

“I was really hoping to challenge for the podium; second is an unexpected surprise really,” said Kennedy. “I sort of figured I’d got my bad luck out of the way last year and this year went much more according to plan.”

Follow the link for full results of the time trial.

Next up for the women’s elite at the Australian Road Nats is the road race on Sunday. You can find out all about the course, who to watch and how to follow the final women’s event in the preview on Ella CyclingTips.

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