Sarah Gigante wins her second Aussie time trial title
BALLARAT, Australia (CT) – Sarah Gigante (Tibco-SVB) has taken her second consecutive Australian time trial title in another impressive ride around Ballarat’s Federation University.
The 20-year-old blazed around the 28.6 km course in a time of 40:41 (42.2 km/h average), stopping the clock 17 seconds faster than silver medalist Grace Brown (BikeExchange). Nicole Frain (Sydney Uni-Staminade) was third at almost four minutes behind Gigante.
Gigante’s time was exactly two minutes faster than her winning time on the same course last year. Brown was second on that occasion as well.
“The first lap I was feeling strong,” Gigante said of her winning ride today. “The second lap I was still feeling strong but I did notice that the gap to Grace was going out a little bit after the hills so on the hill so I was like ‘Yeah, I reckon I’m beating her by a bit.'”
Danielle De Francesco (Specialized Women’s Racing) led proceedings for much of the event after setting a strong early time of 44:47. But when Brown came up the finishing chute there was a flurry of action at the top of the standings. Brown moved into the hot seat briefly with a time nearly four minutes to the better of De Francesco, who ended the day in fourth. Less than a minute after Brown crossed the line, Gigante sprinted across to take her third elite national road title.
Gigante was the unbackable pre-race favourite having dominated the recent Santos Festival of Cycling in Adelaide. While she was aware of the added pressure ahead of today’s race, she felt like she handled it well.
“I do prefer coming in as an underdog,” she said. “But I mean, I like doing my best and that’s the only thing I can do, especially in a time trial. I can worry about the other riders, but it’s not going to change how fast I go so I just thought I’d focus on my own race.
“Dylan Lindsey, my coach and I, we sat down and we had a great pacing strategy and I just tried to think about all the hard work I’ve done, all the simulations I did here, and try and ignore all the outside factors.“
Gigante made several visits to Ballarat in preparation for the Aussie Road Nationals, including for today’s time trial.
“I probably did about three full-out simulations and I was pretty excited when I came for the launch [of the Nationals] a couple of weeks ago and I beat my race time from last year,” she said. “I didn’t beat it by much, but a few seconds and I was like ‘that’s pretty good with the open roads.'”
As we now know, Gigante went even faster under race conditions. “I’m pretty stoked with that,” she said. “Lucky I levelled up because Grace also levelled up!”
As usual, today’s race combined both the elite and U23 women’s categories. Gigante took out the U23 title as well while Emily Watts (KOM Financial Knights of Suburbia) took silver at 4:20 and Anya Louw claimed bronze another 25 seconds in arrears.
Gigante will start as the favourite in Sunday’s elite and U23 women’s road race. It’s a race she won solo in 2019 as an 18-year-old.