New Movistar rider Sarah Gigante has added huge fire power to an already strong field at this month’s Mitchelton Tour of Gippsland and the inaugural Lochard Energy Women’s Warrnambool Cycling Classic, announcing that she will start her 2022 season in the Australian races.
After wearing the green and gold at Tokyo before signing a three-year deal with the giant Spanish team, the 21-year-old is staying in Australia to continue her recovery from the heart condition that derailed her 2022 season, testing her legs against former domestic rivals in the National Road Series.
“This is an important step on my pathway back to the pro peloton,” said Gigante. “Nothing can quite compare to hurtling along narrow cobbled roads in Belgium in a huge European peloton, however the aggressive and punchy racing here will hopefully help me find my race legs again before I join Movistar in the Women's World Tour!”
And this weekend’s Tour of Gippsland has some wonderful memories for the one-time ambitious teenager who cut her teeth learning the craft in the verdant valleys.
“Racing in the NRS has played a huge part in my development, from my first race in East Gippsland back when I was 16, heading down there with my mum and brother, hoping each day just to hold onto the bunch for as long as I could!
“A few years later I remember my first ever podium very well there. It was one of my first tours with Holden Women's Racing, alongside riders like Shannon Malseed and Kimberley Wells, who won that tour!
“On the last day, on a wet hotdog criterium, I slipped into a breakaway with Ruby Roseman-Gannon and Anya Louw. I finished second and couldn't stop grinning!”
Gigante will get a shot at making cycling history at the first ever ‘Women’s Warrny’. The Lochard Energy Women’s Warrnambool Cycling Classic will be raced on February 20th, joining the overall Powercor Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic which has been run since 1895.