Katrin Garfoot (Orica-AIS) took a commanding victory in the women's time trial championship in Buninyong on Thursday. With a time of 43:16 over the 29.3km out-and-back course, the 34-year-old bested four-time Australian national time trial winner Shara Gillow (Rabo Liv) by 46 seconds. Bronze medallist Tiffany Cromwell (CANYON//SRAM) came in 1:38 down.
"It was a cocktail of being stuffed and being happy," Garfoot told reporters, including Cyclingnews, who asked about her reaction to the win in post-race interviews. "There is definitely relief in there just because of the pressure I put on myself. I wanted to get an Australian title in my career, so yes – it definitely took the pressure off me."
The German-born Australian became a citizen just over two years ago and has quickly become Australia's best chance to medal at the 2016 Olympics in the women's time trial. She won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July 2014. She came fourth in the hotly contested women's time trial at the 2015 Richmond World Championships. Today she secured the green and gold.
"Glasgow was better [than this], I reckon," said Garfoot. "Just because it was a bit more unexpected. I didn't have the pressure then, so it was a bit more of a surprise. It definitely changed," said Garfoot. "It was about then or a bit earlier that I decided to be a time triallist. I decided just to do the best at that. I focus on that. I try to get better and better.
"The pressure is still on – but that's on for everyone that wants to go [to Rio]," Garfoot added. "I want to win. I don't think it's too far-fetched, but I'll have to work really hard because everyone else will be working really hard, too."
With Australia's National Road Championships coming so early in the season, the question of form is always looming. Garfoot said that she wasn't sure what she could expect from her performance.
"It's always hard to come back after time off, " said Garfoot. "My coach, Kim Palmer, she pushed me a lot. I was not feeling it until about last week, and it just all came together. I had to believe in the process, and it worked in the end."
Garfoot admitted that she pushed too hard during the opening kilometres of the undulating course, and she worried she had paid the price. Radio issues meant that she thought she hit the intermediate time-check at a deficit, with Gillow still on the first half of the course.
"I was pretty nervous at the start, so I overdid it in the first ten minutes," explained Garfoot. "I had to pull myself back. I was mentally trying to tell myself to keep going and that I could keep that pace.
"At the u-turn, I wasn't too sure where I was standing because the radio didn't work that well," Garfoot noted. "I thought I was five [seconds] down. That's what I heard, so I had to really focus on pushing up those climb. In my head, that's what I thought I had to do. I tried to push really hard the last four kilometres."
Garfoot only learned that she had posted the best provisional time following her effort. She endured a short wait in the hot seat with three riders still out on the road. When Bridie O'Donnell, last year's silver medallist, crossed the line in eighth place, Garfoot knew her time was golden.
"I had to wait for the other girls to come in," said Garfoot. "It's always a waiting game. I was just hoping, wishing that it wasn't fourth again."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Katrin Garfoot (Qld)||0:43:16|
|2||Shara Gillow (Qld)||0:00:46|
|3||Tiffany Cromwell (Sa)||0:01:38|
|4||Kate Perry (Vic)||0:02:21|
|5||Gracie Elvin (Act)||0:02:25|
|6||Rebecca Mackey (Wa)||0:03:09|
|7||Lucy Kennedy (Qld)||0:03:21|
|8||Bridie O'Donnell (Vic)||0:03:26|
|9||Emily Roper (Qld)||0:03:29|
|10||Ellen Skerritt (Qld)||0:03:33|
|11||Jenelle Crooks (Qld)||0:03:33|
|12||Ainslie Bakker (Qld)||0:03:36|
|13||Anna Davis (Vic)||0:03:54|
|14||Erin Kinnealy (Wa)||0:03:55|
|15||Tessa Fabry (Vic)||0:04:26|
|16||Lucy Barker (Sa)||0:04:29|
|17||Anna Hull (Nsw)||0:04:40|
|18||Kendelle Hodges (Vic)||0:04:42|
|19||Shannon Malseed (Vic)||0:04:55|
|20||Jessica Huston (Wa)||0:05:22|
|21||Holly Harris (Nsw)||0:06:34|
|22||Stephanie Frawley (Sa)||0:07:22|
|23||Louisa Lobigs (Nsw)||0:08:47|
|24||Angela Smith (Nsw)|
|DNF||Carlee Taylor (Sa)|