• Sarah Gigante. (Con Chronis/Cycling Australia)Source: Con Chronis/Cycling Australia
Sarah Gigante that added to her elite and under 23 road race wins with a time trial crown, beating out Anya Louw (TIS Racing) by a minute and four seconds with Jaime Gunning (Specialised Womens Racing) third, two minutes and 19 seconds adrift.
Jamie Finch-Penninger

Cycling Central
8 Jan 2019 - 5:09 PM  UPDATED 8 Jan 2019 - 6:16 PM

Gigante was her usual effervescent self after being awarded her second green and gold jersey in three days.

“I didn’t even dream of Sunday’s performance,” Gigante said. “I did train for the time trial and I came here a lot to practise on the course, but I wasn’t expecting to win that either, I was just hoping for a medal.

“I’m really impressed with Jaime Gunning and her NRS season last year so I thought she’d be the one to watch. Also Anya Louw, we’ve been rivals since we were 11 years old. She’s always really close to me, sometimes she wins, sometimes I do. It was really cool to win today”

Gigante has gone from a promising young rider to a star in a short time, but the 18-year-old is taking it in her stride.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Gigante. “All the support from my family and friends… and some new people now too. It’s really special.”

While the majority of the elite women’s peloton is migrating to Adelaide for the Tour Down Under, Gigante is planning a week full of criterium racing back in Melbourne, not looking too far ahead.

“Normally I don’t look too far into the future,” said Gigante. “It’s more ‘what bunch am I riding in today, what race am I doing this weekend’. I always have cycling and thinking about it in my future, but never results-wise, just riding my bike.”

Magennis takes out the Men's under 23 race

Liam Magennis broke through to take the biggest victory of his career, winning the under 23 men’s time trial at the national championships.

Magennis has been a regular near the top of the results sheets on the National Road Series, including a spectacular stage win at the Tour of the Great South Coast, but he took a massive leap up to beat a quality field in the time trial.

“It feels amazing,” said Magennis. “I don’t think I could get a result that would mean more than this one because I’ve been working at this one for a while.”

Magennis posted a time of 38 minutes and three seconds, beating Luke Plapp by 20 seconds with third-placed Sam Jenner a further six seconds behind.

In near-perfect conditions for riding, the 21-year-old from Port Macquarie was fastest by 17 seconds at the halfway point, before turning for home and maintaining his pace back to the finish line. The performance belied Magennis’ battle with illness before the race.

“I had a head cold after the road race (on Saturday) and I’ve spent a lot of time in bed the last few days, but I came out there and had good legs today.”

Magennis, a time trial specialist, has had success in the past at the Oceania championships, winning against a quality field back in 2017 and finishing second last year, but a really top-tier performance at nationals has eluded him. 2019 wasn’t going to be a repeat of his 5th and 7th place finishes in the last two years, with Magennis laying down a plan to take his performance to the next level.

“I made sure I had a good off-season at the end of last year and with my coach Stu Shaw I did a good couple of months there and I’ve been really nailing those time trial sessions in the final few weeks.

The hilly course means that it different to a traditional time trial where pushing big gears and maintaining constant power is the name of the game.

“I rode a different race today to last year,” said Magennis. “Last year I rode more to average power and today I used my power on the climbs and really rested on the descents. It paid off in the end.”

At 21, Magennis is nearing the age that traditionally teams scout out young talent to join the World Tour and to pursue a professional career, he will have to continue to make the most of his opportunities. The win should open some doors for the Drapac-Cannondale rider.

“I hope it means that I can get a start in the Aussie team at worlds,” said Magennis, “that would mean a lot to me as I haven’t had a chance to ride for the Australian team yet.”