Shara Gillow (Orica-AIS) seemed to be fully recovered from a virus that kept her off the bike for two weeks prior to her attempt to make it four straight Australian women's national time trial championships in Ballarat earlier this month. Gillow, who suffered from a chest infection, laboured valiantly finishing second and claiming silver 32 seconds behind new national champion Felicity Wardlaw.
Three days later, Gillow would play a critical role in supporting Orica-AIS teammate Gracie Elvin's successful bid to capture her second straight national road race title. On Tuesday night, Gillow soloed to victory on Prospect Road on stage three of the Santos Women's Cup, while teammates Loes Gunnewijk and Valentina Scandolara helped give Orica its second clean sweep of the three-day event.
"It was so good to get silver at road nationals, and last night I felt a little bit back to normal after the illness," Gillow told Cyclingnews. "I just wanted to do a hit-out for some TT training, and I had my teammates behind me and we raced really well as a team." Gunnewijk's second place helped her clinched the series overall victory.
"It was important for us to get some wins so early this year as it is a confidence booster for all of us," she said "It was great race this year and hopefully there will be more women's team next year so the event can be bigger and better than ever."
Gillow made her race-winning move at race's halfway mark on the 40-minute, 300m circuit and used her exceptional time trial skills to hold a steady rhythm and keep her rivals at bay.
"With Shaz [Gillow] up the road, the other teams were forced to work," Gunnewijk told Cyclingnews. "I stayed in what was left of the field. With one lap to go, Spratty [Amanda Spratt] did an awesome job stringing things out. I was the first one into the last corner to become second on the stage."
"I feel that being on a team means to be a team player, that's how we became number one in the world," said Gillow of her team's final 2013 UCI ranking. "I think you have to be really dedicated and sacrifice yourself for your teammates and then you get your turn and vice versa." Gillow will now join her Orica-AIS teammates for a weeklong training camp in preparations for his bid for the Oceania championships.
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