Australian Road Championships: Gigante defends elite and U23 women's time trial title

Sarah Gigante (Tibco-SVB) takes out the U23 and elite time trial title for a second year running
(Image credit: Con Chronis)

It was another dominant display for Sarah Gigante (Tibco-SVB) who took the under 23 and elite women's time trial title for a second year running at Australia's 2021 Federation University Road National Championships. 

Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange), who won in 2019, had to again settle for second place, finishing 16.9 seconds up on the time of 40:41.1 posted by Gigante at the 28.6 kilometre time trial outside Ballarat. 

The pair were both significantly faster than the rest of the field, with Nicole Frain (Sydney Uni-Staminade), who took third, nearly four minutes behind Gigante.

“I did all the hard work through lockdown and coming up to this event I was really targeting it,” said Gigante after the podium presentation. “I woke up this morning and said the hard works done, time to party.”

The hard work was not only rewarded with a win but also a significantly faster time than last year, with Gigante knocking around two minutes off her total in the mild sunny conditions on Wednesday.

“Lucky I levelled up because Grace also levelled up,” said Gigante.

As defending champion Gigante was the final rider to start, which meant she was eyeing the gap to Brown ahead throughout, trying to work out the distance as she twisted her way around the course.

“I felt really good the first lap. I was really strong. The second lap I was still really strong but I did notice the gap to Grace was going out a little bit after the hill. On the hill I reckoned I was beating her by a bit,” said Gigante. 

“After that on Yankee Flat Rd the gap started to go out a little bit so that was worrying me so I just thought six minutes of pain left, I did so many hard ergos, what’s another 6 minutes?”

Coming in behind the 20-year-old Gigante in the under 23 category was Emily Watts (KOM Financial Knights of Suburbia), who was seventh in the elite category, and Anya Louw (ARA-Pro Racing Sunshine Coast).

Gigante’s impressive record at Australian Road Nationals began when she took a clean sweep of the Australian under 19 titles in 2018 and the next year, in her first year as an under 23, she surprised a field packed with experienced professionals to take out the under 23 and elite road race. The two categories race together just as they do in the time trial. In 2020 it was the time trial double, just as it was this year. 

Plus, there are still more opportunities for Gigante, who has already won the overall of the Santos Festival of Cycling,  this year as she is also racing the criterium and the road race. 

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sarah Gigante (Aus) Team Tibco–Silicon Valley Bank 0:40:41
2Grace Brown (Aus) Team Bike Exchange 0:00:17
3Nicole Frain (Aus) Sydney Uni - Staminade 0:03:58
4Danielle De Francesco (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing 0:04:07
5Alana Forster (Aus) 0:04:07
6Lisa Jacob (Aus) Kom Financial Knights of Suburbia Women's Racing 0:04:10
7Jenny Pettenon 0:04:21
7Emily Watts (Aus) Kom Financial Knights of Suburbia Women's Racing
9Anya Louw (Aus) ARA - Pro Racing Sunshine Coast 0:04:45
10Amber Pate (Aus) SASI 0:04:46
11Bree Wilson (Aus) Roxsolt Liv Sram 0:05:11
12Hayley Jones (Aus) 0:05:16
13Maeve Plouffe (Aus) ARA - Pro Racing Sunshine Coast 0:05:54
14Catelyn Turner (Aus) Sydney Uni - Staminade 0:06:24
15Sophie Edwards (Aus) ARA - Pro Racing Sunshine Coast 0:06:42
16Imogen Alton (Aus) 0:08:08
17Katarina Chung-Orr (Aus) SASI 0:08:20
18Stephanie Corset (Aus) Veris Racing 0:08:38
19Liliana Mclennan (Aus) 0:08:45
20Paula Schulz (Aus) 0:09:47
21Olivia Sens (Aus) 0:10:07
22Ashlee Jones (Aus) Specialized Women's Racing 0:10:47
23Celia Cowan (Aus) 0:16:34
DNFMarie-Louise Fitzgerald (Aus)
DNSChloe Moran (Aus) ARA - Pro Racing Sunshine Coast
DNSRachael Wales (Aus) Velofit Australia
DNSCharly Rose Iron (Aus)

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Production editor

Simone joined the team as Production Editor based in Australia at the start of the 2021 season, having previously worked as Australian Editor at Ella CyclingTips and as a correspondent for Reuters and Bloomberg.

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