Three-time reigning national time trial champion Shara Gillow secured the silver medal in the individual time trial at the Mars Cycling Australia National Road Championships on Wednesday. The Queenslander covered the 28 kilometre course in 39:18.8, 32” behind new national champion Felicity Wardlaw (Bicycle Superstore). Bridie O’Donnell took the bronze medal to round out the podium.
“Full credit to Felicity,” said Gillow. “She did a really good job today. I’m happy to get silver given my less than ideal build-up. I’ve been sick in the weeks leading up to the race and had to dial back my training for a couple weeks. Of course, I’m disappointed to miss out the title, but I gave it my best shot.”
The course in Burrumbeet was flat, fast and non-technical. Windy weather provided the biggest challenge.
“The course suited the bigger, stronger riders in the group,” said Sport Director Gene Bates. “That’s why we saw Wardlaw and O’Donnell do so well today. I don’t say that to take anything away from their rides. They deserve their results. The course suited them far better than someone like Spratty [Amanda Spratt].”
“Everything went well for Shara,” said Bates. “She had great preparation. She just didn’t have the legs on the day compared to Wardlaw, who had a fantastic race. It’s great to see the depth of talent in Australia beyond our team.”
All three ORICA-AIS riders finished in the top ten with Amanda Spratt equaling her seventh place finish from last season and Gracie Elvin jumping up two spots from eighth place to sixth place.
“I wanted to get top five today,” admitted Elvin. “I nearly managed it. I’ve been working on a few skills that I’ve practiced since last year like riding in the biggest gear that I could muster and ‘monstering’ instead of spinning. I had my finacé Stu Shaw in the follow car giving me instructions over the radio. He told me when to go harder or stay in the saddle or get out of it. That helped me out a lot, too.”
“I’m happy with my result, and I’m impressed with Felicity Wardlaw,” Elvin added. “It’s disappointing for Shara not to get the jersey, but it’s awesome to see new talent coming through Australian cycling.”
Although Gillow had been hopeful that she could secure her fourth consecutive national title, she has her eyes on bigger prizes later in the season. Having stood on the podium five times in Europe last season, her main focus is continued success overseas.
“The plan now is to get fitter and stronger,” said Gillow. “My major objectives are the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships. I want to go well at both. I’m looking toward the future. I want to step on the podium a few times in Europe again this season.”