Lauren has just returned from 3 solid days of racing in the North of The Netherlands and in her own words she reports the three tough days of racing:
Thursday, Drentse 8:
This race was a super fast, long and stressful race with a lot of corners and a bunch of 200 girls who all want to be in the front row on the narrow roads. I really enjoyed it. I rode the majority of the race in the front 20 riders and didn’t have any issues to move through the peloton which can be one of the biggest challenges in dutch racing. The 140k race eventuated into a group of 8 girls escaping on the small local laps at the finish of the race. My team mate Emilie, was present for Hitec and I sat with Kirsten to anticipate a bunch sprint if Emilie was to be brought back. Emilie’s group stayed away and she sprinted to 4th, which was a great start for us for the three days of racing. I finished safely in the bunch behind which had been reduced significantly with 90 DNFs recorded for day one.
Photo: Kim Stellingwerf
Saturday, WORLD CUP:
The world cup is such a cool race, There is a short climb, The VAMburg, which we tackled 3 times, 4 cobbled sections, mostly over 2km in length and cross winds for a large section of the race. I was feeling great and made the front selection of about 30 riders over the first critical cobbles only to puncture with no support cars around. I rode the flat wheel for 5km before dropping back through 2 groups and getting a spare from neutral, as the team cars where along way behind with girls all over the place. I chased for 30km, mainly solo and came back to the front group at kilometre 95, just before the second accent of the Vamburg.
I helped position Kirsten before fighting over the climb myself. I found myself in the second group with Tatiana, I now tried to recover from my long chase to see if I could help more in the final. I was starting to feel ok again sitting in the group of about 15 riders, about 40 seconds behind the leading 15 when my heart sunk. I saw Kirsten coming back from the front group…. She had punctured. So Tatiana and I were on the front chasing as hard as we could to give Kirsten the opportunity to sprint for the win. We closed the gap with about 3km to go. We now had about 35 riders heading into a bunch sprint. I looked around to make sure we were indeed racing for the win and there wasn’t a break-away up the road before finding Kirsten to help position her as best I could. I took her to 1km to go before my legs finally shut down, I flicked my arm for her to come through and she jumped behind the Wiggle train. There were 2 crashes on the last two corners and I was then distanced from the leading 15 riders. I rolled over the finish line in 27th. Kirsten had not had the best sprint and was disappointed to tell us she had finished 11th. Even though we had not got the result we were after, I was exceptionally proud of my race. I really didn’t think that Tatiana and I could close a gap of over a minute in the final of a world cup and the fact that we did and after I had already chased all day made me proud of myself and also of my team. Kirsten believed in us and now knows for the future she can rely on us, as we proved to be one of the strongest teams out their today.
Photo: Long chase after a puncture
Sunday, Novilon Eurocup: Today was always going to be a challenge for me, I was motivated to race but hone I got on the bike my legs seemed to have other ideas. The race started directly with crosswinds. I was out of position, I had to work super hard to get back into the race and that is what I did. I was in the first chase group with 2 of my team mates after 30km with Kirsten in the small break of 14 riders in front. But after about 40km with my fatigue setting in from yesterday’s efforts I was out of position in the wind and I found myself in the back spit of our group. We never saw the front again. It was a long day before we were the last group to be pulled from the race. It is extremely disappointing to be given a DNF, however with the high from my performance over the previous two days Kirsten was super driven to get a result for the team’s work all weekend and she delivered. Kirsten took the win from the remaining 26 riders in the race to the line, to take Hitec’s first European win for 2015 and second UCI win after my Oceania title. It was the best ending to the weekend!
Photo: Anton Vos
Next up for me is Cholet in France this weekend. It is a hilly circuit race that I think will suit my strengths. I am looking forward to the opportunity and again racing with my Hitec Teamies again!