We're necessarily cautious about talking up young riders. But there's not enough superlatives when it comes to Sarah Gigante who triumphed over one of the best riders in the world to take the elite and under 23 women's titles at the 2019 Cycling Australia FedUni Road National Championships.
By
Cycling Central

6 Jan - 12:11 PM  UPDATED 7 Jan - 9:33 AM

Gigante's epic victory over Mitchelton-Scott's Amanda Spratt and Sarah Roy will take a lot to top, for at the very least, the ride of the season at most, the best ride of recent years in both men's and women's international racing.  

In the break all day, the 18-year-old (riding for Roxsolt-Attaquer) took her chances with 15 kilometres to go, on a left hand turn out of a roundabout on the flatter part of the course and heading to the final bell. In doing so, the Victorian gapped remaining high calibre escapees Shara Gillow (FDJ) and Sarah Roy.

"It's more than a dream! I wouldn't even dream this big."

Spratt rode a near-perfect race for Mitchelton-Scott over the 104 kilometres, peeling off from the chasers behind  and bridging the gap to team mate Roy who at that stage was off the back a little but regrouped herself to overtake Gillow for bronze. 

But neither had enough to conquer arguably the new ruler of Australian cycling, Sarah Gigante, who finished 50 seconds ahead of Spratt. 

WATCH: Sarah Gigante speaks after her epic victory

The youngster said she sensed a chance of the win once she found herself still with Gillow on the penultimate time up Mt Buninyong.

"You said you don't have words?" Gigante said to post-race interviewer Sophie Smith. "I don't think I have ANY words. I can't believe it!"

"I was hoping for a medal in the under 23s...Jamie Gunning - I was in awe just to be racing against her. Then to get in a breakaway with my idols and I don't know how I dropped them.

"I just can't believe it. It's more than a dream! I wouldn't even dream this big."

"First I was just going in hoping to finish the race because I know under 23s often is hard to finish. And then I thought I played to my strengths and get in a breakaway avoid my weaknesses.

"And I started to feel pretty good when Shara went up the second last lap up the hill and she was attacking I was like hey I can actually keep up this is crazy."

The interview broke up at this point as Gigante was embraced by her mum and as she went off to enjoy her massive year on and off the bike.

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The seven rider break of Gigante, Gillow, Roy, Chloe Hosking (Ale Cipollini), Michaela Parsons, Ella Bloor (Specalized), and Taryn Heather (Specalized) established itself early on the opening lap in Ballarat but slowly dwindled as the race of attrition unfolded until just Roy, Gigante and Gillow remained. 

Meanwhile Mitchelton-Scott blew the race apart with 43 kilometres to go as Lucy Kennedy and Spratt herself launched numerous attacks behind the leaders. As the race slowly came to a close, the WorldTour team continued to play the numbers game sending Gracie Elvin up the road with Rach Neylan (Virtu) until Spratt and then Kennedy rejoined with 20 kilometres to go. Spratt then launched and was able to bridge the gap to Roy and then Gillow. 

Roadnats: Freiberg flies to green and gold glory
Outnumbered, outmanned and dropped on the final climb, Michael Freiberg (Pro Racing Sunshine Coast) made the most of the cat and mouse playing out between Cam Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott) and Chris Harper (Team BridgeLane) ahead at the 1km mark where he hammered past the pair, taking the green and gold jersey at the line.