Tour of Chong Ming Island

The Tour of Chong Ming Island World Cup was held yesterday on the Chinese island, close to Shanghai. The World Cup was the pinnacle race after an opening three day stage race held last week, serving as a warm up for the main event.

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Hitec Products pictured during Tour of Chongming Island 2015 (2.1) stage-2 – photo Anton Vos/Cor Vos © 2015

Team Hitec Products went into the race with the defending champion, the team’s Dutch sprint star, Kirsten Wild. With the flat courses with wide roads and nearly no wind each stage ended in a bunch sprint. Hitec took control each day and formed a lead out train with Lauren forming a key role as one of the final two lead out positions in the train. The team delivered Kirsten to two stage wins in the opening tour along with the overall general classification win and the points jersey win. However in the World Cup Kirsten was just heated by 2 X world Champion Giorgia Bronzini.

“I had a great week racing with the girls on Chong Ming Island, in this type of racing it really needs to be a strong team effort to set up one rider for a chance to win, we did this and although we missed the victory in the WC, we rode really well as a team and I think it’s exciting for some more races to come”

Lauren also won the queen of the mountain competition, taking maximum points on the top of the bridge that joins Chong Ming island to China mainland.

“It wasn’t the plan, I was just following to make sure Hitec was at the front and I saw the chance to take the points without too much energy, it’s a good sign for next week”

Lauren will now turn her attention to the second week in China at the Tour of Zhoushan Island which begins on Wednesday.

Photo: Lauren and Kirsten after Kirsten wins stage one. Photo credit: Anton Vos

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Lauren completes Hat trick weekend of wins in The Netherlands

Building on her win in Friday’s Dutch classic, The Ronde van Overijssel, Lauren turned her attention to the Ronde van Hilvarenbeek on Saturday and the GP Mengelers Drielandenomloop on Sunday.

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Photo: Henry Oosterling

Hilvarenbeek was a 65km national criterium race which doubled as the second round to the Kempen Klassement, which Lauren was leading after her win in Geldrop on April 26th. The open course did not lead its’ self to breakaways and after an aggressive 1.5hrs of racing the 50+ field was destained for a bunch sprint, of which Lauren was the quickest.

“I wasn’t feeling so good for the first half, I think after Overijssel I hadn’t quite recovered, but in the second half I started to come good and had good legs for the sprint. I’m happy with this win because it is very close to my cousin’s house in The Netherlands and it’s special to do well when they are there to support me.”

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Photo: Hommersom

On Sunday Lauren, along with her cousins, Henry and Karin, headed south to the hilly area of The Netherlands for a Dutch classic race, The Drielandenomloop, which consisted of 5 laps of 20km with two challenging climbs each lap.

Lauren again rode herself into the race and in the pouring rain took the win to complete a stellar weekend from a four rider breakaway.

“I really didn’t expect to win again today.” She said after the finish.

“Today was very different to the last two days, there was rain and wind and also small lanes and lots of corners, I like racing in the elements, its adds another dimension”

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Photo: Henry Oosterling

“I really couldn’t have had this success without the help of my dutch family Henry and Karin, not just for on race day but everything else, including a fair few hours of motor pacing” “Also all my sponsors in Port Macquarie, Rydges and Zebu, King and Campbell, Leicht’s Tyre’s and Auto, Organic Fitness and Roxsolt, knowing I have this support allows me to focus on racing and training 100%.”

Lauren wil now prepare for a two week racing campaign in China beginning next week with the Tour of Chongming Island, May 13-15, The Chongming Island World Cup, May 17 and the hillier Tour of Zhoushan Island May 20-22.

Lauren takes biggest win of career

Lauren Kitchen won the Ronde van Overijssel on May 1 in the Netherlands to take the biggest win of her career. The UCI class 1 event was a 143km loop around the province of Overijssel in the north east of The Netherlands. The course was a mainly flat lap of 126km and 2 finishing laps of 8.5km with numerous changes in direction and small lanes the race suited Lauren perfectly.

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photo: Sportnl

“The race just went perfectly for me! I’m so excited to take a big win in Europe, it been a long time that I have been racing in Europe and wanting this, so for it to happen its just so exciting!”

Team Hitec Products started the race with a key favourite in Kirsten Wild and this played to Lauren’s advantage with the peloton concerned most with the team’s super sprinter allowing Lauren to place herself in the race winning move.

“The first main move went at about 50km to go with a group of 9 forming in front, I was just patrolling this move as it was a big group but not contributing to the pace making as my team was chasing behind for Kirsten”

“Kirsten the came across with a few others then a second move of 5 of us went clear with the main team’s again represented”

This move contained former World Individual Time Trial Champion, Ellen van Dijk, Rabobank’s Anouska Koster, Parkhotel’s Natalie van Gough as well as Monique van der Rae completing the quintet along side Hitec’s Oceania Champion in Lauren.

“We quickly gained over a minute and with 8k to go we had 2mins.” “But in the final few kilometres we were riding so slow and the move nearly came back, It was a close finish, but I knew Kirsten would be ready if it did come back, so I wasn’t too concerned”

Lauren knew she had to wait till at least 200m to go before starting her sprint as the deceptively up hill finish was quite a long way from the final corner at 600m to go.

“The other girls in the break went very early so I followed and went full gas at about 180m to go. I past the girls in the final 50m and won by a length or so”

This result will propel Lauren to the top 35 riders in the world on the world ranking as well as the top three Australian riders.

Lauren will compete in two national level races this weekend to complement her training before heading to China next weekend.

Ronde van Gelderland – race report

Ronde van Gelderland race report

Yesterday Lauren played a key role in her teammate’s win at the Ronde van Gelderland. Team Hitec Product’s dutch powerhouse sprinter; Kirsten Wild took a convincing sprint win to mark the team’s 5th victory for 2015.

The tough one day race offers varied terrain with a number of short climbs in quick succession in the opening 60km before the race moves to the dykes of the region and circling back to Apeldoorn for the finish. Usually the wind is a key factor in deciding the outcome of the race, however with nearly no wind and clear blue skies, the weather was not a factor in the results.

In the final 25km of the 127km race there we two dangerous breakaway attempts. The first going at 25km to go with 8 riders, the move contained nearly all the major teams but without Wiggle-Honda, Lauren represented Hitec in this move which gave her the chance if the break was to go all the way to the line but also allowed her team mates to rest behind while Wiggle chased hard to close the gap.

The move was brought back at 10km to go and there was immediately a counter with 7 more riders going clear, Lauren again found herself in the front with 6 different girls. This break didn’t cooperate well and was caught at 3km to go with the exception of Chantel Blaak who was caught in the final 500m.

“It was a fantastic ride by the team today, everyone played a part in the win and it was just a fun day on the bike”

“I was really happy with my feeling and to be able to be in the two dangerous moves that went in the final shows me that my form is where it should be and gives me confidence ahead of next weekend’s race in Borsele, The Netherlands.”

“Its so nice to see you team mate win, It’s just as good as if I win”

Lauren’s next race is Omloop van Borsele on April 25th.

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Lauren takes solo victory in Thailand

Lauren has taken her second UCI win for 2015 with a solo win in stage two at the Tour of Thailand on Thursday. With the support of her Hitec Products teammates she also managed to pick up important bonus seconds throughout the stage to find herself leading the tour at days end, however with a tough fought battle on stage three Lauren slipped to second on the general classification but in doing so claimed her first UCI tour podium result.

“I’m really happy with the way things went this week, to win a stage solo, the way I did was really a very nice moment and shows the training I have been doing is paying off”

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“Of course I’m a bit disappointed to not win the Tour but to finish on the podium is still a nice ending to the week, I was simply beaten by a stronger rider on the day”

Lauren finished 6th on the final stage in the bunch sprint with Hong Kong champion sprinter, Zhaojuan Meng, taking the stage and stealing the lead by 4 seconds over Lauren.

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Lauren will now head back to Europe to take on three dutch classics over the next three weeks where she will ride as a key support rider for the team’s sprinter Kirsten Wild.

“The next three races are made for Kirsten, I hope I can be helpful and maybe be a second option for the team if the opportunity arises”

“I’m really thankful for the team’s support, all week they rode their hearts out for me, I look forward to riding for them throughout the rest of the season.”

Lauren looking for success in The Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhon’s Cup Tour of Thailand

Lauren travels to Thailand this weekend to prepare for the upcoming Tour of Thailand which begins on Wednesday the 8th of April. The three day tour will be a new experience for the current Oceania Champion, one that she is looking forward to.

“I’ve been looking forward to this race, I have no idea what to expect, everything will be a bit unknown, the riders, the courses and the general Thai culture, but Im throwing myself in!”

Lauren has high expectations of herself for the race and is looking for the top step of the podium. Hitec Products have brought a strong five rider squad for the race made up of three Norwegian riders, one Belgium rider and Lauren the sole Australian in the Hitec Products team.

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“We have a motivated team for the race, I think all the girls are keen to have a good performance and we are more then capable to place a rider or two on the podium”

The UCI race is a good opportunity for Lauren and Hitec to chase all important points as we move closer to the World Championships and the Olympics next year.

“I see this race as a good chance to try some things with the team and to chase some points, it will hopefully be a nice experience all around!”

Lauren travels with her team over the weekend arriving in the town of Udon Thani in northern Thailand on Monday morning.

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Drenthe Races Report

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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

Lauren finishes 7th in Belgium Classic

Lauren finished 7th in the first race of her Spring Classics campaign today in Belgium. Hitec Product’s supported their in-form Aussie in the tough 120km race that looped around the eastern part of Flanders in northern Belgium.

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Photos: Anton Vos 

“I was a little unsure how I would feel today, Its been two weeks since my last race in New Zealand and it was also the first time racing for me in Europe this year”

The race departed in sunny 16 degrees, which was maybe a little strange for this time of year in Belgium, however the peloton embraced the warm weather and sunny skies and put on a great bike race on what is International Women’s day.

The race stayed mainly together for the first 40km before all the big teams set up trains into the crucial cobbled section at km 49. Hitec placed Lauren perfectly and she was third over the summit of the cobbled climb.

“My team rode so strong for me today, they placed me perfectly at the crucial moments, Im proud of how they rode today”

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The race then went on to split on the locallaps with 11 riders going clear with 20km to go, the race winning move contained both Lauren and her teammate and former world champion, Tatiana Guderzo.

“Tatiana and I rode we together in the move, she tried to help me as much as she could, Im just disappointed I couldn’t get a better result for all the work she did”

“Im satisfied with my feeling and my form now after this race, Im happy to be in the mix of the results but Im chasing something a bit more in the next block of races”

Lauren now heads to the Drenthe region of the Netherlands for 3 races including the first World Cup of the season. These races will take place on the 12th, 14th and 15th of March.

Lauren continues good form in New Zealand

Lauren has just completed the Women’s Tour of New Zealand, were she rode as part of the Australian National Team. The five rider team had big aspirations of success but a classy USA national team took the top honours in the tour.

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Photo: Women ride bikes

The team got off to a solid start finishing 2nd in the Team Time Trial event on the opening day before Lauren sprinted to 2nd on the first road stage of the Tour, which was held in and around the town of Masterton on the North Island of New Zealand.

“The team time trial was pretty solid but I think we rode really well as a team, we were beaten by a classy USA team but a strong result here is what set up our chances for the rest of the tour”

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In stage three, The Australian National team looked to set up their general classification hopes with Rachel and Katrin showing their climbing cards and finishing in the front selection with Katrin taking the stage for the team.

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In the queen stage of the tour, which included two major climbs including a 10km summit finish on top of Admiral Hill, Lauren found her way into the 9 rider early breakaway that survived until the end. Showing her all-round ability Lauren climbed to 2nd in the stage and to 4th overall on the general classification with one final stage remaining.

“I didn’t expect to be in the position on the queen stage of the tour. I am really happy with the way Im climbing at the moment and I am really proud of this second place on such a tough stage”

Stage five was an exciting battle with most teams keen to get a breakaway up the road. The aussies left it all out there as they tried to gain some precious seconds back on the USA national team girls that were staked at the top of the General Classification Leader board. After a fast and furious 122.5km the bunch arrived for a sprint, where Lauren picked up a fine 4th place to finish the tour.

“For me the tour was a big success, I knew my form was good but to be consistent each day with 3 X 2nds and 4th plus 4th overall, Im stoked”

 

Lauren will now head to Europe to prepare for the Spring Classics with Hitec Products. Her first race is Omloop van het Hageland on March 8th.

Final Results:

Stage 1 TTT – Aus 2nd

Stage 2 125km – Lauren 2nd

Stage 3 130km – Lauren 12th

Stage 4 106km- – Lauren 2nd

Stage 5 122km – Lauren 4th.

Overall

Lauren – 4th @19 seconds.

Professional cyclist