Grace Brown is aiming to fill the time trialing void in Australian women’s cycling left by the retirement of all-time great Katrin Garfoot.
The Camperdown export signalled her intention to fulfill this ambition with a slashing gold medal performance in the FedUni Cycling Australia Road National Championships’ elite women’s time trial at Buninyong on Tuesday.
Garfoot won the 2016, 2017 and 2018 national time trial titles before retiring midway through last year.
Brown said she had set herself for a big performance after finishing fourth last year.
And she delivered big time – riding the 29.5km course 90 seconds quicker than she achieved 12 months ago.
“It’s such a relief...to do everything right.
“It’s all about executing on the day. It’s really awesome to have the national jersey.”
For Brown, who is in only her third year in the sport, the title victory is a perfect start to her first year as a full-time professional rider on the world tour and first year with Mitchelton Scott.
It also ended a drought for the team, which up to the time trial had been without a victory at the championships.
Brown’s time of 42 minutes 35.1 seconds was a remarkable 1:33.6 quicker than two-time national road race champion Gracie Elvin in second place, with Kate Perry third.
Brown said she was unsure where or when she would get her first opportunity to wear the champion’s green and gold jersey in a race. She can only wear it in a time trial.
Her next assignment will be the Women’s Tour Down Under in South Australia.
Brown, who last year was a recipient of an Amy Gillett Foundation scholarship, said the national championship reinforced her desire to make the team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
She said while with women's cycling so competitive this would be tough, having the time trial title would improve her chances.
Brown’s preparation including riding the Buninyong course a few weeks previously, getting a time she was happy with.
She said she felt confident that if she could replicate that she would be in with a chance.
Brown said remaining calm pre-race and again in the last three kilometres had been a key to her performance.
Victorian teenage sensation Sarah Gigante continued on her winning way by taking out the under-23 time trial title, and adding to her road race elite and under-23 double.
This gave her three gold medals at the championships for the second year running, having taken the under-19 triple crown last year.