Gigante wins elite women's Australian national road race title

At just 18 years of age, Sarah Gigante (Roxsolt Attaquer) beat the cream of Australian cycling to win the elite women's Australian national road race title in Buninyong, near Ballarat, Victoria, on Sunday, and with it, by default, the under-23 title.

Gigante made her solo move by attacking breakaway companions Shara Gillow (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) and Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-Scott) on the penultimate lap of the 11.6km circuit, which was covered nine times, and included the climb of Mount Buninyong.

As Gigante increased her lead on the final lap, two-time champion Amanda Spratt passed her teammate Roy on the final climb and linked up with Gillow with two kilometres to go.

It proved to be too little, too late, however, and while Spratt took silver, 50 seconds down on Gigante – who crossed the line unable to believe she'd won – Roy sneaked past Gillow on the line for the final podium spot.

"I'm so happy. I just can't believe it," Gigante said at the finish. "I didn't even expect to win the under-23 title. I was hoping for a medal, and to maybe win it if I was really lucky. So just to win the under-23s would have been amazing, but to win the elite race... I just can't believe it.

"In the breakaway I had some of my idols – Chloe Hosking and Sarah Roy were there – and just to be doing turns with them and riding near them, I was, like, 'Wow – this is so cool.' And then when I heard that three Mitchelton-Scott girls were chasing us with a lap to go, I thought, 'Oh – my idols are chasing me.' I was amazing. It just felt so cool."

How it unfolded

Gigante was part of a seven-rider breakaway group that got away on the first lap, which also included Roy, Gillow, Chloe Hosking (Ale Cipollini), Taryn Heather, Ella Bloor and Michaela Parsons.

On the climb with five laps to go, Bloor dropped off the pace, but managed to regain contact on the descent, while the peloton steadily fractured as the laps ticked by.

Despite Roy's presence in the front group, Mitchelton-Scott were keen to get more numbers up to the front, and Lucy Kennedy was active at the head of the chase, trying to pull Spratt clear, while Tibco-SVB's Brodie Chapman was also regularly seen at the front of the chasing bunch.

It was Gigante herself who led the front group through the start/finish area with almost a three-minute lead with 35km – three laps – to go, and it was Parsons who pushed the pace at the front approaching the climb once again, which put Heather into trouble.

Gillow put in the first serious attack on Mount Buninyong, and Roy gave immediate chase, followed by Parsons, Gigante and Heather, with Bloor having dropped away for good, along with sprinter Hosking.

Behind them, Team Virtu Cycling's Rachel Neylan and Mitchelton's Gracie Elvin picked up Hosking, and with two laps to go the leading group of five – Gigante, Parsons, Gillow, Roy, Heather – held a two-minute lead over Neylan and Elvin, with Hosking holding on to them.

Gillow attacked again on the climb, and this time only Gigante and Roy could follow, with Kennedy and Spratt linking up with the chasers. Gigante made her move on Roy and Gillow with 15km to go, and the 18-year-old had a 30-second gap as she started the final lap.

On the final time up Mount Buninyong, Gillow left Roy behind as she set off in pursuit of Gigante, and as Spratt pushed the pace and caught her teammate Roy, Roy was able to shout an update of the situation up the road to her team leader.

One-by-one, Gigante, followed by Gillow, and then Spratt, went over the top of the climb, and with seven kilometres to go, Gigante still had a 43-second lead, and it wasn't until with two kilometres to go that Spratt latched on to Gillow, and tried to go straight past her.

But by then it was too late: Gigante had the win in the bag, and crossed the line with a one-armed salute to the crowd, with a huge smile on her face before bursting into tears.

Spratt opened up the sprint for silver, with an exhausted-looking Gillow looking as though she'd hold on for third place, despite a fast-approaching Roy. However, Roy managed to catch Gillow on the line, with Gillow either not knowing she was there, or simply not able to do anything about it.

"Of course, we came here to win, but we also have to acknowledge that Sarah had an absolutely incredible ride," Spratt said of Gigante's victory.

"She showed last year in Ballarat what she's capable of, and the talent she has. Hats off to her. She rode away from a class field, even in that breakaway."

Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sarah Gigante (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer03:03:36
2Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:00:50
3Sarah Roy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:00:54
4Shara Gillow (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine FuturoscopeRow 3 - Cell 2
5Gracie Elvin (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:01:10
6Rachel Neylan (Aus) Team Virtu CyclingRow 5 - Cell 2
7Emily Roper (Aus)Row 6 - Cell 2
8Jaime Gunning (Aus) Specialized Women's RacingRow 7 - Cell 2
9Brodie Chapman (Aus) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley BankRow 8 - Cell 2
10Lucy Kennedy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:01:59
11Taryn Heather (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing0:02:15
12Grace Brown (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:03:26
13Rebecca Wiasak (Aus)0:05:10
14Jessica Pratt (Aus) Sydney Uni Staminade0:01:59
15Justine Barrow (Aus) Gusto StepFWD KOM powered by SuzukiRow 14 - Cell 2
16Elizabeth Stannard (Aus) Gusto StepFWD KOM powered by Suzuki0:01:59
17Bree Wilson (Aus)Row 16 - Cell 2
18Michaela Parsons (Aus)0:01:59
19Lauretta Hanson (Aus) Trek-Segafredo0:06:14
20Peta Mullens (Aus) Roxsolt Attaquer0:01:59
21Chloe Hosking (Aus) Ale CipolliniRow 20 - Cell 2
22Anna Booth (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing0:01:59
23Annelise Jefferies (Aus) KOM Financial Advice Racing TeamRow 22 - Cell 2
24Nicole Frain (Aus) TIS Womens Racing Team0:01:59
25Emily Watts (Aus) Sydney Uni StaminadeRow 24 - Cell 2
26Kathryn Woolston (Aus) Veris Racing Team0:01:59
27Georgia Whitehouse (Aus) Sydney Uni StaminadeRow 26 - Cell 2
28Shannon Malseed (Aus) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank0:01:59
29Ashlee Ankudinoff (Aus) Specialized Women's RacingRow 28 - Cell 2
30Holly Harris (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing0:06:18
31Jemma Eastwood (Aus) Gusto StepFWD KOM powered by SuzukiRow 30 - Cell 2
32Matilda Raynolds (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing0:06:21
33Madeline Wright (Aus)0:06:57
34Megan Williams (Aus)0:09:58
35Ella Bloor (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing0:10:02
36Gina Ricardo (Aus) Sydney Uni Staminade0:12:48
37Veronica Lebedev (Aus) Gusto StepFWD KOM powered by SuzukiRow 36 - Cell 2
DNFJessica Allen (Aus) Mitchelton-ScottRow 37 - Cell 2
DNFLauren Kitchen (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine FuturoscopeRow 38 - Cell 2
DNFJenny Pettenon (Aus) Gusto StepFWD KOM powered by SuzukiRow 39 - Cell 2
DNFNicola Macdonald (Aus) Gusto StepFWD KOM powered by SuzukiRow 40 - Cell 2
DNFKendell Hodges (Aus) Gusto StepFWD KOM powered by SuzukiRow 41 - Cell 2
DNFJessica Mundy (Aus) Gusto StepFWD KOM powered by SuzukiRow 42 - Cell 2
DNFKatie Banerjee (Aus) KOM Financial Advice Racing TeamRow 43 - Cell 2
DNFKirsty Deacon (Aus) KOM Financial Advice Racing TeamRow 44 - Cell 2
DNFRebecca Stephens (Aus) KOM Financial Advice Racing TeamRow 45 - Cell 2
DNFKate Perry (Aus) Specialized Women's RacingRow 46 - Cell 2
DNFBriony Mattocks (Aus) Specialized Women's RacingRow 47 - Cell 2
DNFJennifer Darmody (Aus) Sydney Uni StaminadeRow 48 - Cell 2
DNFJade Colligan (Aus) Sydney Uni StaminadeRow 49 - Cell 2
DNFEmma Chilton (Aus) Roxsolt AttaquerRow 50 - Cell 2
DNFJosie Talbot (Aus) Roxsolt AttaquerRow 51 - Cell 2
DNFAnya Louw (Aus) TIS Womens Racing TeamRow 52 - Cell 2
DNFBridget Bremner (Aus) Vie13KOMRow 53 - Cell 2
DNFMaddison Beevors (Aus) Sydney Uni Velo ClubRow 54 - Cell 2
DNFTiffany Cromwell (Aus) Canyon-SRAM RacingRow 55 - Cell 2
DNFFleur Wellings (Aus)Row 56 - Cell 2
DNFNatalie Redmond (Aus)Row 57 - Cell 2
DNFKerry Jonker (Aus)Row 58 - Cell 2
DNFMaddison Taylor (Aus)Row 59 - Cell 2
DNFPia Smith (Aus)Row 60 - Cell 2
DNFGeorgia O'Rourke (Aus)Row 61 - Cell 2
DNFChloe Heffernan (Aus)Row 62 - Cell 2
DNFJennifer Kay (Aus)Row 63 - Cell 2
DNFEmily Fowler (Aus)Row 64 - Cell 2
DNFEloise Vaughan (Aus)Row 65 - Cell 2
DNFSaffron Button (Aus)Row 66 - Cell 2
DNFEmma Viotto (Aus)Row 67 - Cell 2
DNFSarah Tucknott (Aus)Row 68 - Cell 2
DNFBre Vine (Aus)Row 69 - Cell 2
DNFEmily Mascaro (Aus)Row 70 - Cell 2

 

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