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Sarah Gigante wins on Willunga to take stage 3 at Santos Festival of Cycling

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Santos Festival of Cycling

Sarah Gigante (Team Garmin Australia) wins on Willunga Hill (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Santos Festival of Cycling

Sarah Gigante (Team Garmin Australia) becomes the Queen of Willunga Hill (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Santos Festival of Cycling

Alana Forster was a prominent figure on stage 3 of the Santos Festival of Cycling (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Santos Festival of Cycling

Sarah Gigante (Team Garmin Australia) with her mother at the finish (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Santos Festival of Cycling

Stage 3 of the Santos Festival of Cycling (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Santos Festival of Cycling

Lucy Kennedy (Team BikeExchange) signs on (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Santos Festival of Cycling

Sarah Gigante (Team Garmin Australia) signs on for stage 3 of the Santos Festival of Cycling (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Santos Festival of Cycling

Neve Bradbury (Team Garmin Australia) (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Santos Festival of Cycling

Ashlee Akundinoff (Team Garmin Australia) (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Santos Festival of Cycling

Sarah Gigante (Team Garmin Australia) at the start of stage 3 (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Sarah Gigante (Team Garmin Australia) climbs to win on stage 3 of the Santos Festival of Cycling

(Image credit: Kevin Anderson)

Sarah Gigante (Team Garmin Australia) put in another dominant ride on stage 3 of the Santos Festival of Cycling to become the first women’s winner on Willunga Hill and extend her lead in the overall standings.

The 20-year-old attacked twice at the foot of the climb to drop the entire women’s field before quickly establishing a winning gap on the iconic Australian climb. While her rivals struggled on the steep gradient, Gigante was able to ride on the big ring throughout and finish well ahead of Lucy Kennedy (Team BikeExchange) and Nicole Frain (Sydney Uni Staminade). There was late drama for Frain after she made a wrong turn just before the finish. That error cost her valuable time, although she clung on for third.

Gigante had a 41-second advantage over Kennedy with just under one kilometer of the climb remaining but by the finish her lead had moved out to one minute with Frain finishing a further 36 seconds back. After three stages Gigante leads Lucy Kennedy by 3:11 and by Ruby Roseman-Gannon by 3:33. Frain is just one second further back and would have finished the stage on the overall podium if it had not been for her last minute detour.

With one stage remaining in the Santos Festival of Cycling Gigante is on course to win the overall race.

“It’s so, so cool that the women were able to race up Willunga Hill for the first time, and gosh it might look like a one person race at the end but that was the best teamwork ever,” Gigante said at the finish.

“I thought that yesterday was next level but I had literal body guards around me all day, I knew that the other teams wouldn’t give it to us easily and would try and catch us out but we had such a strong team around me. It was so, so lovely. I cared so much about this one, so I was ‘nerve-cited’ about it,” she added.

How it unfolded

The 48.8-kilometer stage might have been short but it was always going to be a crucial stage in this year’s race, even after Gigante’s exploits on the previous day of racing when she established a mammoth lead over her rivals. Saturday’s stage was also bigger than Gigante and her headline grabbing efforts as it represented the first time a women’s field had raced up the iconic climb of Willunga Hill.

There were no shortages of attacks in the early kilometres as the peloton rolled out with a flurry of moves as teams tried to take the race to Gigante and the top climbers. However with an all-important intermediate sprint at 22.8 kilometers the sprinters teams and most notably ARA Pro-Racing Sunshine Coast Women were always going to keep the peloton together. They were racing for sprint sensation Ruby Roseman-Gannon, who was tied with Gigante on points heading into the day.

Despite valiant efforts from several teams to split the race, most notably Velofit Australia, the peloton contested the key sprint as one, with Roseman-Gannon proving to be a class apart and taking the three points available.

There was no immediate lull in the pace after the sprint with five riders moving to go clear, including Neve Bradbury (Team Garmin Australia), sixth overall coming into the stage, part of the break that also included Bree Wilson (Roxsolt LIV Sram), and Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange).

When that escape group was quickly nullified another seven-rider split attacked from the front with 19.5km to go but despite the rolling terrain Gigante’s team controlled proceedings before shutting down the break entirely. In the end only the unattached Alana Forster was able to escape the peloton’s clutches, with the Australian building up a neat lead of 25 seconds inside the final 10 kilometers of racing. Her efforts gained some welcome TV time and showcased her ability to a watching audience but with so many riders still in contention Forster was eventually swallowed up inside the final few kilometers.

At the base of the climb Team BikeExchange looked to set up Kennedy but as soon as the road began to tilt upwards Gigante accelerated with a vicious turn of speed. She looked back once, saw the carnage she has left behind and continued to climb out of the saddle as the likes of Brown, Roy and Kennedy struggled to find their tempo.

Laura Luxford (Specialized Women's Racing) attempted to go after Gigante’s initial move but once the gap opened up to a few bike lengths only Frain looked capable of mounting any form of opposition. A second kick from Gigante with over 2.5 kilometers to go ended any hope of a comeback, before Kennedy paced herself through the field to move into second.

In the end Australian cycling was able to toast an iconic day of racing on an iconic climb, with a rider who will undoubtedly become a national icon.

Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sarah Gigante (Team Garmin Australia) 1:17:34
2Lucy Kennedy (Team BikeExchange) 0:01:00
3Nicole Frain (Sydney Uni Staminade) 0:01:36
4Laura Luxford (Specialized WomeN'S Racing) 0:01:38
5Ruby Roseman-Gannon (ARA Pro-Racing Sunshine Coast Women)
6Neve Bradbury (Team Garmin Australia) 0:01:41
7Alexandra Manly (Team BikeExchange)
8Carlee Taylor (Roxsolt LIV Sram) 0:01:44
9Chelsea Holmes (Giant Racing Team) 0:01:51
10Amber Pate (South Australian Institue of Sport) 0:01:52
11Elizabeth Stannard (Specialized WomeN'S Racing)Sydney Uni Staminade
12Holly Harris (Specialized WomeN'S Racing) 0:01:55
13Matilda Raynolds (Specialized WomeN'S Racing) 0:02:13
14Danielle de Francesco (Specialized WomeN'S Racing) 0:02:30
15Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange) 0:02:33
16Staci McCudden (StepFWD IT Suzuki) 0:02:36
17Ella Bloor (Specialized WomeN'S Racing) 0:02:41
18Cassia Boglio (Velofit Australia) 0:02:50
19Anya Louw (ARA Pro-Racing Sunshine Coast Women) 0:02:55
20Bree Wilson (Roxsolt LIV Sram) 0:02:57
21Hailey Mason (Butterfields Racing) 0:03:17
22Libby Young (Butterfields Racing) 0:03:27
23Victoria Barry (Velofit Australia) 0:03:29
24Hannah Seeliger (Butterfields Racing) 0:03:33
25Fleur Wellings (South Australian Institue of Sport) 0:03:53
26Emily Fowler (StepFWD IT Suzuki)
27Peta Mullens (Roxsolt LIV Sram) 0:03:57
28Maeve Plouffe (Team Garmin Australia)
29Alana Forster (Unattached) 0:04:03
30Darcie Richards (Velofit Australia) 0:04:05
31Georgia Baker (Team Garmin Australia) 0:04:20
32Breeana Hargrave (Specialized WomeN'S Racing) 0:04:38
33Courtney Sherwell (Roxsolt LIV Sram) 0:04:47
34Brittany Petersen (Butterfields Racing) 0:04:54
35Pia Smith (StepFWD IT Suzuki) 0:05:29
36Stephanie Corset (Veris Racing WomeN'S Team) 0:05:31
37Haylee Fuller (Sydney Uni Staminade)
38Loretta Hanson (Team Garmin Australia)
39Sarah roy (Team BikeExchange)
40Sophie Edwards (ARA Pro-Racing Sunshine Coast Women) 0:05:37
41Holly Lubcke (ARA Pro-Racing Sunshine Coast Women) 0:05:39
42Shannon McCurley (Unattached) 0:05:40
43Sa_ron Button (Roxsolt LIV Sram) 0:05:49
44Catelyn Turner (Sydney Uni Staminade) 0:06:08
45Katarina Chung-Orr (South Australian Institue of Sport)
46Jennifer Darmody (Sydney Uni Staminade) 0:06:24
47Celia Cowan (South Australian Institue of Sport)
48Kelly Fettes (Butterfields Racing)
49Emma Viotto (Giant Racing Team)
50Jessica Lawler (Velofit Australia)
51Jessica Allen (Team BikeExchange)
52Gemma Mollenhauer (Giant Racing Team)
53Nicola Macdonald (Roxsolt LIV Sram)
54Ashlee Akundinoff (Team Garmin Australia)
55Annette Edmondson (Team Garmin Australia)
56Amalia Langham (StepFWD IT Suzuki) 0:07:17
57Erin Bertram (Velofit Australia)
58Alexandra Martin Wallace (ARA Pro-Racing Sunshine Coast Women) 0:08:47
59Kirsty Deacon (Veris Racing WomeN'S Team)
60Lauren Perry (ARA Pro-Racing Sunshine Coast Women) 0:11:01
61Nicole Mitsigeorgis (Veris Racing WomeN'S Team)
62Isabella Flint (Roxsolt LIV Sram) 0:14:41
63Kate Bonner (Velofit Australia) 0:15:00

Ziptrak Sprint 1: Esplanade, Snapper Point
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ruby Roseman-Gannon (ARA Pro-Racing Sunshine Coast Women) 3
2Sarah roy (Team BikeExchange) 2
3Nicole Frain (Sydney Uni Staminade) 1

Sprint Finish
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sarah Gigante (Team Garmin Australia) 3
2Lucy Kennedy (Team BikeExchange) 2
3Nicole Frain (Sydney Uni Staminade) 1

Shimano Queen of the Mountain - Willunga Hill (category 1)
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sarah Gigante (Team Garmin Australia) 10
2Lucy Kennedy (Team BikeExchange) 6
3Nicole Frain (Sydney Uni Staminade) 4
4Laura Luxford (Specialized WomeN'S Racing) 2
5Ruby Roseman-Gannon (ARA Pro-Racing Sunshine Coast Women) 1

Most Competitive rider
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alana Forster (Unattached)

Teams
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Team BikeExchange (3, 3:57:56
2Specialized WomeN'S Racing (31, 0:00:11
3Team Garmin Australia (25, 0:00:24
4Roxsolt LIV Sram (12, 0:03:24
5ARA Pro-Racing Sunshine Coast Women (56, 0:04:56
6Butterfields Racing (104, 0:05:03
7Velofit Australia (84, 0:05:10
8South Australian Institute of Sport (121, 0:06:39
9StepFWD IT Suzuki (94, 0:06:44
10Sydney Uni Staminade (44, 0:08:01
11Giant Racing Team (71, 0:09:25
12Veris Racing WomeN'S Team (61, 0:20:05

General classification after stage 3
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sarah Gigante (Team Garmin Australia) 6:04:48
2Lucy Kennedy (Team BikeExchange) 0:03:11
3Ruby Roseman-Gannon (ARA Pro-Racing Sunshine Coast Women) 0:03:42
4Nicole Frain (Sydney Uni Staminade) 0:03:44
5Laura Luxford (Specialized WomeN'S Racing) 0:03:55
6Neve Bradbury (Team Garmin Australia) 0:03:58
7Carlee Taylor (Roxsolt LIV Sram) 0:04:01
8Elizabeth Stannard (Specialized WomeN'S Racing)Sydney Uni Staminade 0:04:09
9Holly Harris (Specialized WomeN'S Racing) 0:04:23
10Matilda Raynolds (Specialized WomeN'S Racing) 0:04:29
11Danielle de Francesco (Specialized WomeN'S Racing) 0:04:47
12Alexandra Manly (Team BikeExchange) 0:05:10
13Anya Louw (ARA Pro-Racing Sunshine Coast Women) 0:05:12
14Chelsea Holmes (Giant Racing Team) 0:05:17
15Amber Pate (South Australian Institue of Sport) 0:05:21
16Peta Mullens (Roxsolt LIV Sram) 0:06:00
17Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange) 0:06:01
18Staci McCudden (StepFWD IT Suzuki) 0:06:05
19Ella Bloor (Specialized WomeN'S Racing) 0:06:10
20Cassia Boglio (Velofit Australia) 0:06:19
21Hailey Mason (Butterfields Racing) 0:06:46
22Bree Wilson (Roxsolt LIV Sram) 0:07:03
23Darcie Richards (Velofit Australia) 0:07:34
24Georgia Baker (Team Garmin Australia) 0:07:43
25Breeana Hargrave (Specialized WomeN'S Racing) 0:08:07
26Alana Forster (Unattached)
27Hannah Seeliger (Butterfields Racing) 0:09:02
28Haylee Fuller (Sydney Uni Staminade) 0:09:11
29Loretta Hanson (Team Garmin Australia) 0:09:15
30Ashlee Akundinoff (Team Garmin Australia) 0:09:51
31Annette Edmondson (Team Garmin Australia) 0:10:07
32Sarah roy (Team BikeExchange) 0:10:58
33Maeve Plouffe (Team Garmin Australia) 0:11:46
34Victoria Barry (Velofit Australia) 0:13:27
35Emma Viotto (Giant Racing Team) 0:16:29
36Courtney Sherwell (Roxsolt LIV Sram) 0:16:45
37Libby Young (Butterfields Racing)
38Pia Smith (StepFWD IT Suzuki) 0:17:27
39Holly Lubcke (ARA Pro-Racing Sunshine Coast Women) 0:17:34
40Sophie Edwards (ARA Pro-Racing Sunshine Coast Women) 0:17:35
41Catelyn Turner (Sydney Uni Staminade) 0:18:06
42Brittany Petersen (Butterfields Racing) 0:18:12
43Jennifer Darmody (Sydney Uni Staminade) 0:18:17
44Jessica Allen (Team BikeExchange) 0:18:22
45Nicola Macdonald (Roxsolt LIV Sram)
46Kelly Fettes (Butterfields Racing) 0:19:32
47Erin Bertram (Velofit Australia) 0:21:32
48Shannon McCurley (Unattached) 0:22:04
49Katarina Chung-Orr (South Australian Institue of Sport) 0:23:47
50Stephanie Corset (Veris Racing WomeN'S Team) 0:24:41
51Alexandra Martin Wallace (ARA Pro-Racing Sunshine Coast Women) 0:25:11
52Nicole Mitsigeorgis (Veris Racing WomeN'S Team) 0:25:19
53Fleur Wellings (South Australian Institue of Sport) 0:25:55
54Sa_ron Button (Roxsolt LIV Sram) 0:27:51
55Jessica Lawler (Velofit Australia) 0:28:23
56Kate Bonner (Velofit Australia) 0:29:18
57Celia Cowan (South Australian Institue of Sport) 0:30:20
58Emily Fowler (StepFWD IT Suzuki) 0:32:02
59Isabella Flint (Roxsolt LIV Sram) 0:32:20
60Amalia Langham (StepFWD IT Suzuki) 0:34:58
61Gemma Mollenhauer (Giant Racing Team) 0:35:27
62Kirsty Deacon (Veris Racing WomeN'S Team) 0:36:42
63Lauren Perry (ARA Pro-Racing Sunshine Coast Women) 0:47:54

Ziptrak Sprint Classification
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sarah Gigante (Team Garmin Australia) 9
2Ruby Roseman-Gannon (ARA Pro-Racing Sunshine Coast Women) 9
3Kirsty Deacon (Veris Racing WomeN'S Team) 5
4Peta Mullens (Roxsolt LIV Sram) 4
5Chelsea Holmes (Giant Racing Team) 3
6Alana Forster (Unattached) 3
7Nicole Frain (Sydney Uni Staminade) 3
8Lucy Kennedy (Team BikeExchange) 2
9Georgia Baker (Team Garmin Australia) 2
10Ashlee Akundinoff (Team Garmin Australia) 2
11Sarah roy (Team BikeExchange) 2
12Matilda Raynolds (Specialized WomeN'S Racing) 1
13Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange) 1
14Bree Wilson (Roxsolt LIV Sram) 1
15Annette Edmondson (Team Garmin Australia) 1

Shimano Queen of the Mountain Classification
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sarah Gigante (Team Garmin Australia) 24
2Lucy Kennedy (Team BikeExchange) 8
3Nicole Frain (Sydney Uni Staminade) 7
4Kirsty Deacon (Veris Racing WomeN'S Team) 5
5Laura Luxford (Specialized WomeN'S Racing) 5
6Chelsea Holmes (Giant Racing Team) 5
7Bree Wilson (Roxsolt LIV Sram) 3
8Ruby Roseman-Gannon (ARA Pro-Racing Sunshine Coast Women) 2

Focus Young Rider Classification
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
2Neve Bradbury (Team Garmin Australia) 0:03:58
3Anya Louw (ARA Pro-Racing Sunshine Coast Women) 0:05:12
4Chelsea Holmes (Giant Racing Team) 0:05:17
5Staci McCudden (StepFWD IT Suzuki) 0:06:05
6Cassia Boglio (Velofit Australia) 0:06:19
7Hailey Mason (Butterfields Racing) 0:06:46
8Darcie Richards (Velofit Australia) 0:07:34
9Hannah Seeliger (Butterfields Racing) 0:09:02
10Haylee Fuller (Sydney Uni Staminade) 0:09:11
11Maeve Plouffe (Team Garmin Australia) 0:11:46
12Sophie Edwards (ARA Pro-Racing Sunshine Coast Women) 0:17:35
13Catelyn Turner (Sydney Uni Staminade) 0:18:06
14Kelly Fettes (Butterfields Racing) 0:19:32
15Katarina Chung-Orr (South Australian Institue of Sport) 0:23:47
16Stephanie Corset (Veris Racing WomeN'S Team) 0:24:41
17Alexandra Martin Wallace (ARA Pro-Racing Sunshine Coast Women) 0:25:11
18Jessica Lawler (Velofit Australia) 0:28:23
19Celia Cowan (South Australian Institue of Sport) 0:30:20
20Isabella Flint (Roxsolt LIV Sram) 0:32:20
21Amalia Langham (StepFWD IT Suzuki) 0:34:58

Teams classification
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Team Garmin Australia 18:26:11
2Specialized WomeN'S Racing 0:29:00
3Team BikeExchange 0:02:42
4Roxsolt LIV Sram 0:05:32
5ARA Pro-Racing Sunshine Coast Women 0:14:52
6Velofit Australia 0:15:30
7Sydney Uni Staminade 0:19:18
8Butterfields Racing 0:20:36
9South Australian Institute of Sport 0:43:16
10StepFWD IT Suzuki 0:43:19
11Giant Racing Team 0:45:29
12Veris Racing WomeN'S Team 1:15:00
Daniel Benson

Editor in Chief - Cyclingnews.

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