Lauren on the Podium in TDU

Lauren has just completed the Women’s Tour Down Under, which ran from the 16th to the 19th of January in the Adelaide region of South Australia. With the support of her Hitec Products teammates, Lauren secured the final spot on the overall podium behind Orica-AIS rider Katrin Garfoot and American Shelly Olds. The final podium positions were decided on a count back as the top four riders in the four day race finished on the same time over the four stages.

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“I am very happy to be on the final GC podium, this race was well contested among the Aussies and I think shows Im on the right track heading into the season. I am most proud of my performance on stage 3 where I really had to show I was physically at a good level along with ride smart and control Orica-AIS, who had the numerical advantage in the breakaway that had formed over the toughest part of the course.”

Lauren also finished 3rd on the 3rd stage, to give Hitec its first two podiums in a UCI road event ofthe year. Lauren was consistent across the four race days with her results being 4th on stage 1, 5th stage 2, 3rd stage 3 and 8th stage 4

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“Im happy with where I’m at right now, I have shown that I am ready very competitive and my form is good, now I have to rest for a few days and prepare for Cadel’s next weekend, before heading overseas.”

Next up for Lauren is Cadel’s Great Ocean Road Race which takes place on Jan 30 in Geelong. Then she will travel to Qatar for the Ladies Tour of Qatar before onwards to Europe.

Photos: Kirsty Baxter

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Lauren Kicks off the new year with a Bronze medal ride

Lauren began her national championships campaign on Wednesday night with a Bronze medal ride in the women’s Criterium title. She also sealed the Sprint jersey competition on the way. The Crit title was Lauren’s first race since the World Championships last September so she was pleasantly surprised with her form after a long break and training block.

“I really didn’t know where I was at, I a hadn’t even done a local race since September, so Im also a bit relieved to see Im around the mark heading into the season”
This was Lauren’s third Bronze medal in the event in a row and her 6th medal in the event over the past 6 years. It is no longer an event that Lauren can fly under the radar despite her having no teammates she was always a favourite.
“I have a good track record in this race, I guess the course suites me with the tough drag to the line and my ability to race it in different conditions over the years. I won it in 2011 and then I think I have 4 other Bronze medals (3 Elite and 1 U23 along with a gold U23) so I am little bit sick of standing next to the winner to be honest, so in some ways I am disappointed, but the aim was to have a good hit out for the weekend’s important Road Race and that was defiantly achieved.”
The race came down to a breakaway of 9 riders which included 4 Orica-AIS riders. However it was Sophie Mackay who stole the show, just getting over Orica’s Lizzie Williams on the line.
“I think Orica had a bit of a mix up in their leadout and Lizzie had a big gap on their sprinter out of the last corner, I was behind Sarah Roy, their Sprinter and when I saw the gap, I realised I had to go really early, so that really wasn’t great for me. I was happy to get to Lizzie on the line but didn’t quite get there to take the title”
Next up for Lauren is the Road Race on Saturday where she has been named as a favourite. The race can be seen in the early afternoon on Channel
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Lauren set to begin Nationals Campaign in Ballarat

Lauren has recently just arrived in Ballarat ready to start her 2016 season with the National Championships which begin tomorrow evening. Lauren will compete in the Criterium (33km) and the Road Race (102km) in this year’s Championships and is looking to start the season on a high after a long build up phase of training.

“I am really keen to get into some racing, I have had about 10 weeks of solid training now, I have been really focused and I really want to put that to good use and start the season with some good results”

“ I am competing in the Criterium on Wednesday evening along with the Road Race on Sunday morning. I think I can really be int he mix for both events and I am really looking forward to laying it on the line to try and achieve the best possible”

Lauren will be up against tough competition for both events but it is to be expected being 2016 and an Olympic year.

“It’s a big year this one, A lot of girls are in the mix for selection and I hope to be right up there on that list”

Lauren will then travel to Adelaide for the Tour Down Under where she will race with her trade team Hitec Products.

The Road Race will be on the Nine network in the early afternoon on Sunday the 10th of January.

Lauren nominated for Elite female Road cyclist of the year!

Cycling Australia have just announced the finalists in the categories for the awards dinner that will take place this Friday in Melbourne.

Lauren has been nominated for the category of Elite Female Road Cyclist along with Gracie Elvin (ACT) and Katrin Garfoot (QLD). The nomination comes as a nice surprise after strong year for Lauren, capped off by her gutsy ride at the recent World Championships in the USA.

“Im very happy to be nominated, I didn’t expect to be and it really does cap off a good season for me”

Lauren will travel to Melbourne for the awards dinner and is looking forward to the evening and catching up with Australia’s best on two wheels. There are a number of awards categories to highlight the spread of talent across road, track and dirt disciplines, in masters, juniors, para-cycling and elite divisions.

“It will be a great opportunity to catch up with everyone and a good excuse to get dressed up!, I am looking forward to enjoying the evening on Friday!”

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Lauren exceeds expectations with World Championships breakaway

Racing in just her second Elite World Championships in Richmond Virginia, Lauren formed part of a dangerous 9 riders move in the closing 2 laps of the race before attacking the break to ride away with Italian Valentina Scandolara. The duo, who have raced together since junior days, were only caught at 2km to go after a late desperate chase from the Dutch team.

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“I knew there was going to be a chance of a break going today just because of the depth of the field and also the nature of the course”

“I felt strong today and I was really trying to stay relaxed and conserve energy, the final was really hard”

The challenging city course around Richmond, Virginia offered around 12km of mainly flat wide roads with a lot of corners before three short sharp climbs in the final 4km including Libby hill, a twisty cobbled climb and 23rd street, a 13% cobbled climb to test the field.

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“The course wasn’t so hard once or twice but eight times is what did the damage. Each lap the field would stretch through the hilly sector and after 4-5 laps the field was starting to dwindle, just as the Aussies started to light up the race”

“We had numbers so we had to play them. First Rachel went away solo and then I followed a small group that went across to form the group of nine, next up with the break gaining time we had to assess the situation and try to work out what the other teams would do, this is difficult but with Aus having the upper hand with the two of us there we decided to start attacking the break as there was less the 15km to at this point.”

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Lauren tried a few times before getting off the front with scandolara. The two build up a small advantage quickly and lead the world championships with a real chance to take the two top steps of the podium with only a handful of kilometers to go. Unfortunately for Lauren, the Dutch decided to chase and closed the gap in the final kilometers. Lizzie Armistead took the win for Great Britian ahead of Anna van der Breggan of The Netherlands and Megan Guinier of the USA. Lauren finished in 28th place with only thoughts of what could have been.

“Of course I’m disappointed we were caught, but to be able to perform at this level like this in the final of the World Championships gives me a lot of confidence for next season, I’m going to be back for more that’s for sure”

Lauren now heads back to Europe for some rest after a long season. She will return to Port Macquarie in late October to begin her build up for 2016 and a run at Olympic selection for the Rio Olympics.

Hitec Products top 10 in TTT

Lauren’s Hitec Products team finished in 10th place in the World Championships Team Time Trial yesterday in Richmond, USA.

“We didn’t go in with big expectations but we were expecting to be a bit more competitive to be honest, we didn’t have a very smooth run in to the race with some girls being a bit sick and some logistical dilemmas. With all that said I’m pretty happy with my feeling and I also enjoyed spending time with my teammates for the last race of the season as a Hitec Products member. ”

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The Hitec Team unfortunately lost Lotte Becker, their German engine even before the team rolled down the starting ramp due to mechanical issues with the team then having to rely on only five riders compared with six of each of the other teams.

“It was very unfortunate to not start with Charlotte, she is for sure the strongest rider in our team for this discipline so that was a big blow to the team, then we didn’t have the best feeling with the rest of the team, but I am proud of how the girls gave everything they had and its a more a case of what could have been for us, which is a little like unfinished business”

Lauren now turns her attention to the road race on Saturday where she will line up with a strong eight rider squad from Australia.

Lauren selected to represent Australia in Richmond

Today Cycling Australia released the selection for the upcoming World Championships to be held in Richmond, USA from September 20-27th. Lauren was named as part of the eight rider elite women’s team to tackle the road race on September 26th. She will be joined by last year’s 5th place finisher, Tiffany Cromwell and her Velocio Sram trade teammate, Loren Rowney along with Rach Neylan, Amanda Spratt, Gracie Elvin, Lizzie Williams and Katrin Garfoot all from Orica AIS.

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The selection comes off Lauren’s most successful season, including 5 UCI wins including the Oceania Title. However it is Lauren’s recent consistency that has earned her the spot in the squad. In the last 6 weeks Lauren has had 9 top 10 results from 15 starts including in the recent world cup race in Sweden.

“Im really happy to be officially named in the team, this will be my 2nd Worlds as a senior athlete and now I know what to expect and what is expected from me”

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“The course in Richmond will be an interesting one, there is not so much elevation gain but with plenty of corners, cobble sections and short technical climbs, I’m sure it will produce a very worthy World Champion.”

Lauren is now putting the finishing touches on her form with a training block before starting her last two races of the year for Hitec Products next week.

“I have been training hard the past 10 days or so since Sweden, I’m really pumped for Richmond, I’m not only motivated to be there but I think a good result is not out of the question, my form is good and if its a race for me or a teammate I expect to be in the thick of the action in the final few laps”

Lauren will take part in the Lotto-Belgium Tour from September 8-11 along with the La Challenge Madrid by La Vuelta on September 13, which will be available on SBS the evening of September 13th.

Lauren will travel to the USA on September 17th to take part in the trade team time trial World Championships on September 20th before joining the Australian team for the road race. The World Championships will also be broadcast live by SBS.

Sweden World Cup

Lauren has finished 10th in the weekend’s World Cup round in the Vargarda area of Sweden. The 133.5km race consisted of a large 56km lap followed by an eleven kilometre lap, completed seven times. The peloton had to navigate a 2.5km gravel section towards the end of the opening lap. The 11km lap was quite technical and included a punchy 1km climb in the final half of the lap.

“Our team plan was to go out and race and try to put one of us in a move, but if it was together in the last few laps or so we were going to try and set up Kirsten for a sprint”

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The team had a very strong line up for this race with Kirsten, a previous winner of this round of the World cup, the team’s German, Charlotte Becker, team captain, Tatiana Guderzo, Norwegian duo Emilie Moberg and Miriam Bjornsnud and Lauren rounding out the roster. Unfortunately the team lost Lotte and Miriam to bad crashes on the gravel roads on the large lap. Both traveled to hospital but were later discharged.

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“As we entered the laps a lot of teams started to try and attack but with the wind and every team wanting to be in the attack, it essentially meant no one was in the attack!, however the fast pace did cause a dwindling of the peloton to be only 25 riders as we entered the last lap. We were full gas before we reached the climb and the group split over the climb to about 15 riders, I was there but I was also looking for Kirsten who was just behind. The other teams also realised this and drove the pace not allowing her to rejoin in time for the sprint”

“I finished 10th, I wasn’t perfectly placed but I was also held up by the crash in the last corner, I needed to be a few places further up and I thin I could have gone for a better result, 10th isn’t bad in a World Cup but I feel like it could have been more.”

The result is very encouraging heading into the World Championships which will have a similar field to last Sunday’s World Cup and a similar course.

Next up for Lauren is a small training block before the Lotto-Belgium Tour September 8-11 and the La Challenge Madrid on the final day of the Vuelta on September 13.

The Worlds team will be announced on September 2nd.

Lauren heads to La Route de France with building form

 

Lauren is in Paris with her Hitec Products teammates for the La Route de France, a seven day stage race, beginning with a 3km prologue this afternoon. The week will offer a mix of terrain with a few sprint friendly courses to begin the week and some tough hillier days to finish with.

“Im really looking forward to the stage race, I have only done this race once before, in 2013, and I have good memories of that week. I think it will be a tough tour with some quality riders”

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The start list includes some quality teams with Wiggle Honda, Liv Planetur and Lotto Soudal bringing strong line ups. This is an important race for Lauren, along with many others in the peloton as she will hope to cement herself a place in the Australian World Championships team for the Richmond World Championships on September 26th.

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photo: Steven Sergearnt

“Its the start of the serious Worlds Selection period, I have an automatic place with the UCI because of my Oceania’s win, however it is important to prove that I am at a high enough level to contribute to a top result for Australia in the US, so I have some extra motivation”

Lauren will be joined in France by four strong Norwegians to round out the Hitec Squad. Tone Hatteland-Lima, Janicke Gunvaldsen, Ingrid Lovick and Norwegian ITT champion Cecilie Johnsen. You can follow Lauren’s results on her Facebook page as well as Twitter and Instagram.

La Course by Le Tour in Lauren’s words

Wow, well that was an experience. It is pretty cool that the women’s peloton now get to experience racing in the centre of Paris with the finale of the Tour de France with the whole world watching live. However it’s also so crazy how much a little rain can affect the experience.

Rain is something we are used to racing in, some people even prefer it, as it adds another dimension to the racing, personally I don’t mind it as it’s the same for everyone but this afternoon in the centre of Paris was a whole new experience.

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Team Hitec Products presented in Paris before La Course.

My race was pretty similar to most of the peloton, I had a rear puncture on the second lap, I got service from neutral as our car was too far back, the wheel I got was terrible but I was happy to be back rolling and rejoined the race after 1.5 laps chasing. Then after seeing teammates coming out the back I made my way back to the front, on the next lap, Kirsten, our sprinter crashed so I slowed to wait for her to help chase back on. We rejoined about mid race.

I was feeling pretty good and was trying to keep an eye everything while literally sliding around each corner, braking wasn’t an option, if you touched the brakes you would slide out as the wet cobbled roads now had become like glass with oil and reside from the cars surfacing with the rain.

With just over 3 laps to go I went down, hard. One girl hit the brakes in front on a straight piece of road and I had no where to go when she slide out. I jumped up quick but as soon as I tried to through my leg over the bike, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I persisted and tried to pedal but I couldn’t put any weight through my left leg without a lot of pain, I then panicked, I wasn’t going to get back on to the bunch at this stage in the final 20k so with a lot of pain I decided unfortunately to call it a day.

I spent a little bit of time in the ambulance but in the end I was relieved to be able to ‘walk’ out without too much wrong.

To be honest I can’t say I enjoyed the experience, it was seriously dangerous and scary to race like this and for the men’s race to be neutralized tells you the extreme nature of the course. I’m now heading back to holland where I will have a full check tomorrow to confirm everything is ok.

Next up is a World cup in Germany next weekend and I would like to be fit and fighting for the team by then, until then.

Lauren

Professional cyclist