Katrin Garfoot (ORICA-Scott) successfully defined her women's time trial title at the 2017 Australian Road National Championships in Buninyong on Thursday. Fourteen seconds faster this year compared to last, Garfoot stopped the clock at 43:05 over the 29.3 kilometre out-and-back course.
"I fell off my bike at the end, which I normally don't do," Garfoot told reporters, including Cyclingnews, following podium presentations. "That's a good sign. I'm definitely happy with my performance. Obviously there's always something to improve, but at this stage, I wouldn't know what to improve for this race because it all came together."
The title was largely predicted to be a two-woman race between Garfoot, who earned the bronze medal in the time trial at the 2016 World Championships in Doha last October, and four-time Australian national time trial winner Shara Gillow (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope), but Gillow proved unable to mount a challenge, finishing nearly two minutes down on Garfoot. Kate Perry (Specialized Women Racing) rounded out the podium at 3:14.
"The pressure was on," said Garfoot. "I try not to let it get to me, but it was there. I was nervous, wondering if I could do it again. You never know how fit the others are at that stage of the year. I didn't know how fit I was because it was such a short training block from the Worlds."
German-born, Garfoot became an Australian citizen only three years ago. She won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games time trial in Glasgow in July 2014 and finished in fourth place in the women's team time trial at the 2015 Richmond World Championships.
She was more disappointed than delighted to take bronze in Doha, a mere eights second off the world title winning pace. Widely thought of as Australia's best chance to medal at the 2016 Olympic time trial, Garfoot's preparation was hampered by illness, and she could only manage ninth place. Thursday's time trial title is her second national championships win.
"[The title] does mean a lot to me after the Olympics where I couldn't get the result I wanted and then getting the third from Worlds, which was good but oh just a few seconds away from first," said Garfoot. "In the overall scheme, third doesn't count anything toward my funding, which I'm pretty frustrated about, so it's good to show them I'm absolutely worth it and I hope maybe somewhere down the line someone will acknowledge that again."
Conditions created an extra challenge over the undulating course. With a strong tail-wind on the way out and a head-wind back home, pacing proved difficult.
Garfoot posted the fastest intermediate split by 38-seconds at the course's turn-around point.
"I wanted to go out easy with the tailwind, which didn't happen," said Garfoot. "I tried to keep it up on the way back, which was obviously slower than on the way out. And harder. And hurt more."
Shortly after the u-turn, Garfoot caught her minute woman.
"As soon as I saw Shara and knew I could catch her, I settled down a bit and reeled her in," said Garfoot. "I knew mentally that would give me an advantage, so that was good. If she caught me again, I could put the foot down again.
"[Sport director] Gene Bates kept on me to keep on and keep pushing," Garfoot added. "I definitely left it all out there."
For the second year in Cycling Australia history, a U23 woman's jersey was awarded. Garfoot's teammate Alexandra Manly took top honours.
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|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Katrin Garfoot (Aus) Orica-Scott||0:43:05|
|2||Shara Gillow (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope||0:01:55|
|3||Kate Perry (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing||0:03:14|
|4||Rebecca Wiasak (Aus) High5 Dream Team||0:03:27|
|5||Lucy Kennedy (Aus)||0:03:47|
|6||Louisa Lobigs (Aus) Holden Women's Team||0:04:16|
|7||Rebecca Mackey (Aus)||0:04:32|
|8||Emily Cunningham (Aus)||0:05:19|
|9||Erin Kinnealy (Aus)||0:05:22|
|10||Alexandra Manly (Aus) Orica-Scott||0:05:34|
|11||Jaime Gunning (Aus) QAS||0:05:39|
|12||Ella Scanlan-Bloor (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing||0:05:49|
|13||Lucy Barker (Aus)||0:06:59|
|14||Geraldine Blomfield-Brown (Aus)||0:08:41|
|15||Hannah Macdougall (Aus) VIS||0:09:21|
|16||Kerry Knowler (Aus)||0:09:49|
|DNS||Lisen Hockings (Aus) Holden Women's Team|
|DNS||Chloe Moran (Aus) SASI|