Image: Movistar/PhotoGomezSport

Sarah Gigante returns to racing this week after six-month absence

The 21-year-old Australian has recovered from her bout of myopericarditis and is raring to get back into racing.

by Matt de Neef

photography by Movistar/PhotoGomezSport

After more than six months away from competition due to a heart condition, Sarah Gigante (Movistar) returns to racing this weekend at the Mitchelton Tour of Gippsland – part of Australia’s National Road Series (NRS).

Gigante will then take part in the inaugural Lochard Energy Women’s Warrnambool Classic – the first NRS-level women’s edition of the Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic.

The two NRS events will be Gigante’s first races in Movistar colours and the first time the 21-year-old has raced at all since she represented Australia at the Tokyo Olympics last July.

Since then, Gigante has been sidelined by a bout of myopericarditis – inflammation of the heart and surrounding tissue.

“My illness last year was certainly the toughest period I’ve been through, and I missed the freedom of good health and being able to ride to my heart’s content more than I can describe,” Gigante said. “Now that I’m back, I realise my experience last year has made me much more appreciative. I already loved cycling more than anything, but I will never ever take it for granted again.”

Gigante wasn’t able to train for months and instead spent time riding an e-bike and hiking with her family. She missed out on the Australian Road Nationals in early January but headed to Spain a short time later to join her Movistar teammates at a pre-season camp. She is now back in Australia and gearing up for her upcoming races.

“This is an important step on my pathway back to the pro peloton,” Gigante said. “Nothing can quite compare to hurtling along narrow cobbled roads in Belgium in a huge European peloton, however the aggressive and punchy racing here will hopefully help me find my race legs again before I join Movistar in the Women’s WorldTour!”

Gigante heads to both NRS races without any specific expectations.

“My main goal for both the [Melbourne to Warrnambool] and [Tour of] Gippsland is to simply have fun and enjoy the thrill and excitement of racing my bike again! I have not been able to compete since the Tokyo Olympics because of my illness, and before that, I hadn’t raced since April, because of the broken bones crash!

“About last year, all I can say is that broken bones are a walk in the park! I broke three bones, including one in my leg, earlier in 2021, but that was just a bump in the road compared to what happened later. I’m totally fine now though, more resilient and more patient, and more excited than ever!

“I’m feeling surprisingly good on the bike and I do know that every NRS round is hard-fought with many strong and aggressive racers keen to give it their all. I’ve looked at the routes for the two upcoming races, so I expect a close battle between many riders and teams!”

The Tour of Gippsland will be raced over three stages – a criterium and two road races – while the Women’s Warrnambool Classic will take riders 160 km from Colac to Warrnambool.

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