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Freiberg, Gigante pull off cycling upsets

Michael Freiberg and Sarah Gigante are the Australian road race champions, while Mitchelton-Scott were left lamenting lost opportunities.

Freiberg, Gigante pull off cycling upsets

Michael Freiberg and Sarah Gigante are the Australian road race champions, while Mitchelton-Scott were left lamenting lost opportunities.

Michael Freiberg and teenage sensation Sarah Gigante have upstaged the powerful Mitchelton-Scott team for outstanding wins at the Australian road cycling championships.

Freiberg looked gone on Sunday when he was dropped on the final climb of the 185km men's elite road race at Buninyong, near Ballarat.


But the former world and Commonwealth Games track champion held his nerve and then blew past Chris Harper and Cameron Meyer about a kilometre from the finish.

Harper and Meyer paid dearly for playing cat-and-mouse too far out and were surprised by Freiberg's late attack.

Harper finished second and Mitchelton-Scott's Meyer was distraught after having to settle for bronze.

Earlier on Sunday, Gigante confirmed she is the new star of Australian cycling after soloing to the women's elite road title.

She surprised Mitchelton-Scott's Sarah Roy and Olympian Shara Gillow with a smart escape on the second-last of nine laps in their 104km race.

Gigante finished 50 seconds clear of Mitchelton-Scott leader Amanda Spratt, who charged from the chase group but was unable to catch her, and Roy blew past Gillow late for third.

Mitchelton-Scott have been the dominant team at the road nationals since they started in 2012 and their team meetings on Sunday night would not have been pleasant.

But Freiberg will be celebrating after one of the biggest wins of his career.

After track success in 2010-11, Freiberg stepped away from cycling when he missed London Olympics selection.

"This is pretty high (among his career highlights) - it's the ones you have to fight the hardest for that mean the most," the Australian Cycling Academy rider said.

"Coming across that line was something you wouldn't dream of."

Freiberg's brother-in-law is Mitchelton-Scott rider Luke Durbridge, who did a power of work in the race and finished fourth.

Freiberg now hopes to gain a spot in the composite UniSA team for Adelaide's Tour Down Under later this month.

Meyer was shattered after the race.

"I will try not to cry too much ... it's hard to accept. I've been on the podium before so I've been wanting that green and gold for a long time," Meyer said.

Meyer, a nine-time world track champion, would have been the first rider to win the Australian men's elite triple crown - the road race, time trial and criterium championships.

Harper said it was bittersweet to win the silver after taking bronze last year.

AAP


AAP




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