Sarah Gigante (Movistar) may have clocked up her first European win in May at Emakumeen Nafarroako, but she also suffered her first concussion, cutting short her Spanish race plans.
The 21-year-old has had a succession of cut short seasons, between the COVID-19 pandemic, broken bones and, last year's frightening heart problems which turned out to be myopericarditis – an inflammation of the heart muscle and sac surrounding the heart. That made making it to May this season and the climb heavy terrain she enjoys all the more satisfying, but it could also just as easily have made it all the more frustrating that it ended early.
However, Gigante said after the problems she dealt with last year it was easy to focus on her health, the long-term and see it as just ‘another bump in the road’. Training got back into full swing after a month which means the Australian is now raring to go for the second half of the season.
"I was just starting to get my taste of it in Spain, but, yes, I'm very keen to come back,” Gigante told Cyclingnews. “I think I'm fitter now. I hope so at least, but I feel really good and I'm just super excited for my next races.”
That next racing block won’t include the Tour de France Femmes – she’ll be cheering on her Movistar teammates this year and hoping for a start next year instead – but should still have the opportunity to test herself out on some solid climbs and also in the time trial at Postnord Vårgårda, which will mark her return to racing on August 6.
Gigante’s schedule for the next part of the season isn’t yet set in stone, but with races like the new six-stage Tour of Scandinavia coming up from August 9-14 and then perhaps a start at October’s first Tour de Romandie Féminin, Gigante is going to have every opportunity to test out her growing form.
“I've been training super hard,” Gigante told Cyclingnews in a phone interview before venturing out into the heat of Spain to clock up another session on the bike. “It's actually been like a real blessing to have this time.”
“Yes, I really love racing. but I haven't had such a hard, concentrated long block of training since this time last year because after I got sick last year then I had to slowly ease back into it. So I'm really enjoying this, because I feel like I'm getting closer and closer to cracking a PB again.”
All positive signs, but being off the racing radar since the second week of May, while hoping to score a much sought after berth in the team at a home World Championships in September, hasn’t been ideal.
“The training block is really good, but it's not the best for showing yourself to the selectors,” Gigante said with a wry chuckle before quickly adding. “I'll just try my best in Scandinavia.”
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