Between 2011 and 2013, Shara Gillow was the fastest Australian woman against the clock as she claimed three straight national titles. A silver medal to Flick Wardlaw last year was one of many disappointments for Gillow who described the season as "my worst ever." A move to the Dutch Rabo-Liv team for 2015 already looks to have the 27-year-old back to her best as she won the 29.3km out-and-back race in Buninyong 1:01 minutes ahead of Bridie O'Donnell.
"It's really special to win," Gillow told reporters including Cyclingnews after the race. "I've ridden the race every year since 2009 and medalled six times. This is my fourth national title, I missed it last year, and just to wear the green and gold again is going to be great as I missed it last year. I realised how special it is to wear it over in Europe.
"I came here today and I was disappointed with last year's results and l had the worst season of my career results wise," Gillow continued. "I was second at nationals and I won Oceanias and I had a lot to learn last year with going too little and too hard but I've refocused on riding for Rabo-Liv this year."
A broken wrist in September meant an early flight home to Australia with Gillow able to enjoy one of her favourite past times, surfing near her home on the Sunshine Coast before preparation for the season got under way.
The move to Rabo-Liv sees Gillow begin a new chapter of her career after three-years with Orica-AIS and looking forward to the new challenges that accompany the switch.
"It's really exciting for me, I've come through Cycling Australia and Orica-AIS was good while it was and it was really good in development but I feel like I've closed that book and now I am onto a new book," she said. "I've had a lot of people help me along the way, which I am thankful for, but I've moved on now and I am really excited to be racing on a team with the former Olympic champion and current world champion at Rabo-Liv and they've been amazing with communication giving me tips and encouraging me from Holland."
Gillow's next outing in her new team colours is the women's national road race and having placed ninth last year when riding in a support role for winner Gracie Elvin, she will be looking to be the first rider since xx to win the road and time trial double
"I am really wanting to give Saturday a big shot. To tell you the truth, I've come down with QLD Academy of Sport but I haven’t thought of a race plane or had a look at who is riding but I am certainly wanting to have a shot at it at that one as well."
After the nationals, Gillow will head back over to Europe to meet her new teammates for the first time and finalise her racing program for 2015 with the Richmond World Championships a main target for success.
"It is first just seeing how the team works, helping them out and helping myself out with certain areas," she said of her personal aims for the year. "I am always looking to improve so I am looking to certainly improve on last year with results and be the best that I can be in the new team environment.
"The Worlds team time trial is one thing the team is really focused on with is really exciting. The time trial is something I definitely want to continue to work on as well."
Gillow's new teammates include multi discipline world champion Marianne Vos and current world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, riders that she expects will help her to continue to improve
"They are the best team in the world yet I have a lot to learn," she said.