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Katrin Garfoot expresses Olympic year funding frustrations

Katrin Garfoot on top step of the podium ahead of Shara Gillow and Kate Perry

Katrin Garfoot on top step of the podium ahead of Shara Gillow and Kate Perry (Image credit: Cycling Australia)

Newly crowned two-time time trial champion Katrin Garfoot (ORICA-Scott) admitted that she's struggled with motivation since October where she secured the bronze medal in the time trial at the 2016 Road World Championships. Speaking to reporters, including Cyclingnews, following her successful time trial title defence in Buninyong on Thursday, Garfoot described a number of factors that have impacted her enthusiasm.

"My age. I'm ancient," said Garfoot, who at 35 is far from the oldest rider in the elite women's peloton. "You wonder why you're doing this and should you not get screaming children and settle down to family.

"I weigh it all up," she continued. "I don't get superannuation. I'm underpaid. How much can I ask my husband to support me? All this plays a role. I don't see him for half the year. He's very supportive, but how much longer can I do that as a female? It's pretty tough."

Any other year but an Olympic year, Garfoot's bronze medal at the Road World Championships would have garnered a $10,000 (AUD) funding bonus from the Australian Olympic Committee. She started the season as Australia's best hope for an elite women's cycling medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, but illness marred her preparation and she could only manage ninth in the time trial.

"In Olympic year, the World Championships don't count," said Garfoot. "I could have become first in the World Championships and not gotten any funding over it. I think that's a bit average because I represent a company, so to say, and I don't get the support I need to improve myself.

"I'm pretty frustrated, so it's good to show them I'm absolutely worth it," Garfoot added. "I hope maybe somewhere down the line some will acknowledge that again."

Cyclingnews reached out to Cycling Australia for comment regarding the AOC funding structure. They said they had no comment on the matter.

Giro Rosa general classification ambitions

Garfoot tentatively named the Giro Rosa general classification as a target for the upcoming season.

"Focusing on that would prepare me well for Worlds," said Garfoot. "I will try. Why not? It's something different.

"I did TDU GC last year, and I pulled it off," Garfoot said. "I got a stage at Qatar and in Luxembourg, I was always pretty good. It would be a new challenge, and it would help the team to focus on something.

"We thought I would maybe go for it, train for it," Garfoot added. "My climbing is obviously not that bad, so maybe improve on that. I've never done climbing efforts. I've only done TT efforts for now, and maybe it's time to do something different."

The Queenslander will aim for the top step of the time trial podium in Bergen in September at the 2017 Road World Championships. Beyond that?

"I thought maybe the [2018] Comm Games would be my last race," said Garfoot. "I definitely want to do that because it's Queensland. First I have to get there. Nationals today is one step towards that." 

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