Lauren to combine track with road prep for 2018 season

Lauren has began her pre season training for the upcoming 2018 road season that will see her combine some track training in with her road preparations in an attempt to challenge herself and see what is possible on the velodrome.

“I’m excited to get some track training in this year in Australia, Its just something different and it makes the training fresh and its challenging which is motivating”

Lauren will add some state races to her calendar including the NSW Omnium championship taking place November 12 at Dunc Gray Velodrome in Sydney and possibly the remaining NSW state titles in mid December. Her focus is still firmly on the road preparations but the added opportunity to race so early will give Lauren and her coach, Brad McGee a reference point earlier then most years.

“I see these track races as a challenge and also a good reference to see what we need to add to my training in terms of speed work and what we can possibly do to improve for my big block of racing in January”

Lauren is hoping to compete in the Tour Down Under and Cadel Evan’s Great Ocean Road Race along with the national championships in January, however it is dependant on the national team being entered to race and the selection to this.

“I am preparing to race there, I want to be there, they are really nice races and I would the opportunity to fight for results there, but they are also important for Com Games selection and I want to have every opportunity for that team”

Lauren is preparing for the upcoming season at her Australian base in Port Macquarie, Australia with her family and support network. She works closely with her physio, massage therapist, strength and conditioning coach along with local support such as Rydges and Zebu and TRS cycles in Port Macquarie.

“I just love this time year, I am training hard and Im really motivated, having my support network is really key to my success and I think its that little extra that will get me across the line first next year.”

FDJ bound for 2018

Moving ahead with FDJ – In Lauren’s words;

I have decided to move to FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope for the 2018 season. This french team really caught my eye this year with their steady growth and appeared to be stepping up to the top level in an organised and professional manner. The management were eager to discuss with me last season and again this season and it just felt right to sign with them for 2018. The team really seem to value me and my input into discussions and their eagerness is what got them across the line for me. I am excited to join the FDJ family and to be honest it has sparked a new motivation in me for next year, like a chance to prove myself and work with new people along with my long term friend Shara Gillow.

I really believe that Shara has the potential to climb with the best in the world in some of the biggest races we have on the calendar and I’m really looking forward to playing a role in this next season.

There is just something about being with the underdog team that really gets me excited. I believe it is important in cycling to always keep moving, whether that is with new goals, new races, new roles or my case a new team, in order to keep the motivation and pressure pumping, never let yourself become comfortable, always push your limits and not just on the bike, in order to get the most out of yourself as a person

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Lauren signs with FDJ for 2018

With excitement for 2018, also come some sadness as I leave my WM3 team after only one season. I am very thankful for the support of WM3 and the friendship of my teammates throughout the 2017 season. WM3 is one of the biggest teams in the peloton and one of the key teams for each race they start, and it has been an honour to be apart of this. The dutch mentality feels very close to home with my family ties to the flatlands and the style of racing suited my abilities. WM3 is a top team with a top mentality to improve and I am grateful to have been apart of it.

Changing teams is an emotional rollercoaster. This time of year can be scary, nervous and exciting all at the same time. When I first considered the idea that I might change teams I was very upset and exhausted just at the thought, I mean new equipment, new staff, new team mates, new relationships to form on and off the bike with team mates, a possible new culture to adjust too.

All these thoughts had me in tears, I questioned how much do I want it? Is it worth it?

Do I have the energy required to go through a change again so soon after only joining WM3 this season? I questioned a lot of things about myself, my self worth and then came full circle to question what others think of me and if it was worth considering my future myself or waiting for someone else to decide for me. After speaking with my coach, Brad, and my family I decided to consider my options for 2018 and beyond and I’m really glad I did. My feeling to have signed with FDJ for 2018 is the opposite of my initial feelings towards changing teams, I feel valued and motivated, I definitely have the energy to forge forward and make 2018 the best year yet, both on and off the bike with a new culture. As my dad recently said to me recently,

‘A rolling stone gathers no moss’ so I can’t wait to keep moving.

FDJ I believe will give me the opportunity to prepare and race professionally and also support me to challenge myself with new ideas and opportunities. As a more experienced rider of the peloton I look forward to playing the road captain role with a younger french orientated team and sharing my skills and experience with them. Ill be challenging myself with the french language next year but at this point in my career, bring it on.

 

“I’m enjoying being part of a big team again”

Lauren has began training for the second half of the season at her European base in Spain, next up for Lauren will be The Women’s Tour in Great Britain running from the 7th to the 11th of June and will kickstart a big second half of 2017. But first Lauren describes in her own worlds the second part of the Spring Campaign.

“The beginning of 2017 has been both good and a bit disappointing, I am really happy to be a part of WM3 Procycling, the team is great, I enjoy racing with the girls and working with the staff. However for me personally I really wanted to repay the team early with a nice result and for one reason or another I haven’t landed that yet”

 

I’m enjoying being part of a big team again where we can really have an impact on a race and the way it is played out and it was really nice to be apart of the full ardennes week, our little climber, Kasia, landed on the podium three times that week and while it wasn’t the top step, I was privileged to be apart of that performance”

While Lauren hasn’t picked up a result to show for her efforts she has faced a string of bad luck, “There was a series of crashes in the Spring that was unfortunate, I think I just didn’t recover from them and that hurt me towards the end of the Spring, it’s not an excuse, more an observation, I was hoping to show something in China, but ultimately I think I was tired after a long Spring campaign, thats why I decided with my coach to have the following week off”

Lauren lined up in Dwars door Vlaanderens after a week off with maybe a little too much freshness but most importantly a fresh mind, This was a stand alone race for Lauren between season blocks. Riding in support of a teammate Lauren rode all day in the echelon after the team split the race early on in the wind

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“We split the field in the wind after 15km of 135k, we got the group to 18 and that was it, I turned all day so my teammates could try and stay fresh for the final, but then in the final I ended up attacking and going alone for over 20km and being caught with just over 5k to go! It defiantly wasn’t as easy race! The move set up Vale who immediately attacked when I was caught and she rode to victory!”

WM3 have now picked up eight UCI victories so fair this season, but not yet at the highest level. Something Lauren is extremely motivated by.

“While Spring wasn’t what I wanted in terms of results, sometimes you have periods like this, its cycling, whats important is how you deal with it, we still have a lot of races this year, a lot of nice races, beginning with Women’s Tour in a couple of weeks”

Lauren’s season goal to win a big race still stands and she is determined to achieve this moving into the second part of the season

I train hard each day with this in mind

“Thanks for WM3 Procycing, Rydges Port Macquarie, my coach Kevin Poulton and my supporters for their ongoing support so far this season!”

Pics Anton Vos

Ardennes Week

Lauren is headed north once more today for the Ardennes week, a triple classics week in both Belgium and The Netherlands. While a full Ardennes week has been enjoyed by the men’s peloton for a number of years, this will be the first time the women will experience both The Amstel Gold race and Liege – Bastonge – Liege. These two races are split by the famous La Flèche Wallone that has already been a centrepiece of the Spring campaign for a number of years.

“Im really looking forward to these races, They will be hard for sure but we have a really strong team and I think we can do something a bit special here”

Lauren will be joined by both Marianne Vos and Kasia Niewiadoma, both have a next to flawless history when racing on the famous Caulberg, with Vos taking the rainbow jersey of World Champion there in 2012 and Kasia winning the last stage of Holland Ladies Tour last year there. Vos is a five time winner of Flèche and Kasia is a key favourite for the that race. Liege offers a bit more of the unknown.

“Both Marianne and Kasia are very suited to this style of racing, I think that if they are both firing on al cylinders we will be The Team to watch for the week, I also see this as a great opportunity for myself to step up and be there at the critical moments for the girls but also for myself”

With a rough run of bad luck now behind and a good two week of training in the legs, Lauren is refreshed and ready to fight for that elusive victory at some of the biggest races of the year.

“It will be special to do these races for the first time, Im excited but that, but I really want to take positive feelings away and it would be great if we could win one or two of them!”

Lauren checks in after rounds two and three of the Women’s World Tour

The past two weekends I have spent in Drenthe, The Netherlands and in Cittiglio, Italy for the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the world tour. I really enjoyed both races but left both not quite satisfied. Drenthe is a tough 150km race around the flat, cobbles roads of northern Netherlands and can offer a different race situation each year with different factors making the race each time. This year I had good legs but missed a key selection in the final part of the race, I was really frustrated at myself for this as I really missed a great opportunity but I learnt something and that’s the most important moving forward. Marianne Vos, my team mate salvaged a hard fought 7th place for the team while I finished in the next main group in 27th.

After a good week of recovery and training I headed to Italy for ‘Binda’ this is a really nice race and also one of the first races I did with the national team when I started racing in Europe. The hilly circuit suited our team and I knew with a good day I could be there in the finish with the front. However it wasn’t to be, after about 10km myself and 3 of my teammates crashed quite hard and I spent the next 25km chasing only to rejoin at the base of the days longest climb. While I was generally unhurt, the team was down in numbers and had used a lot more energy then would be ideal up to this point. For me I ran out of legs in the final sections of the race, I knew this point would come after the chase from the crash. Kasia, our polish champion finished 8th after her last lap breakaway was caught.

While we didn’t come home with the results we are after, the team is bonding well and racing well, we just need a little luck for it to all fall into place. I have a lot of confidence in the team and also in my feeling personally that the best is yet to come.

Next up for me is Gent Welvegem next Sunday before the big one, The Ronde van Vlaanderen in two weeks time.

Strade Bianche

Last weekend Lauren competed in the third edition of Strade Bianche, The opening round of the Women’s World Tour for 2017. The iconic Tuscan race is a real favourite on the calendar for many riders with the Italian charm and tough conditions making it a true classic race. The course included 30km of white gravel roads split over eight different sectors throughout the 127km race. Lauren was part of a strong WM3 line up with last year’s second place polish champion, Kasia Niewiadoma and multiple time world champion Marianne Vos as team mates and favourites.

With a team plan to deliver the two protected riders to the final sectors of the race fresh and strong, Lauren captained the team to a strong team performance. “It was a tough day with the weather also, we had rain and wind to deal with , along with the hilly course and gravel sectors” The team did suffer a fair bit of bad luck and while Kasia still managed to pick up second place, showing her true strength, it left the girls hungry for more.

“We had a fair bit of bad luck really, Kasia crashed down a big hole on the fifth gravel sector and I had to climb down to get her out as she was stuck!, I don’t really know how she managed it, But we got her back and that was good. Personally I had two bike changes and another crash as well and then some further mechanical problems in the final so i was actually really pleased with my result, knowing that my level is really good at the moment” Lauren suffered a fair bit of bad luck but as she explains, it can happen in bike races and there is no point dwelling on it. “It can happen, I mean its not ideal and I had to use a lot of energy at multiple times and I missed a key split because of it in the final sectors, but at the end of the day, Kasia was 2nd and I was a big part of that and Im really proud of that and also the whole team effort.”

Lauren’s next race is Ronde van Drenthe next Saturday, this will mark the second round of the Women’s World Tour. Drenthe is again a true classic race but is a huge contrast to the white gravel roads and rolling hills of Tuscany. Drenthe is a flat cobbled dutch race often marked with cold rainy weather. “Im really looking forward to it, I love these hard days and I know the team can do well, and I hope personally I can be up there too”

Photos: Anton Vos

Lauren opens Spring Campaign with a top 10.

Lauren opened her season with two solid races in Belgium with her WM3 Pro Cycling team last weekend with Omloop het Nieuwsblad on Saturday and Omloop het van Hageland on Sunday, The two races served as an appetiser for the more important Spring Classics to come in the coming months.

Lauren was happy to find her legs and form for the weekend’s races and finish with a top ten result on Sunday in a fast sprint finish in Tielt-Winge.

“Im really happy with how I felt in the races and that is a credit to my coaches, Kev and Brad, and to the team for helping me get to this level already. I know that with my feeling and with the strength of my teammates we are going to achieve some big results this year and that has me really excited”

“Nieuwsblad was a nervous opener as always but I had a great time racing with my teammates for the first time and also working with Sports Director Jeroen again, I made a small mistake personally in the race and I think it cost me a better position or the opportunity to help Kasia further in the final, as she was super strong, but I was happy with my level and that was the most important thing to take from Saturday”

Sunday was a slightly more relaxed affair with less cobbles and climbs compared with Saturday but with a nervous peloton the race still proved to be tough and with multiple crashes throughout. While WM3 rode for an aggressive race, a bunch sprint seemed the only outcome for the day with Lauren rounding out the top ten in a sprint at 80kph.

“The finish sprint really wasn’t suited to me so we tried to avoid a bunch sprint and looked to establish a break, but it just wasn’t to be, I think I could have had a better result in the finish but I need to work a bit more on these situations still. I happy I could be there for the team to get some sort of result but I’m looking forward to proving myself more in the upcoming races”

Next up for Lauren is Strade Bianche, The opening World Tour race for the team in Italy on Saturday. This will be Marianne Vos’ debut for the team this road season.

Pics Anton Vos

Lauren excited to start racing with WM3 Pro Cycling

Lauren will kick off her season with the WM3 Pro Cycling this weekend at the first Belgium classics of the season, Omloop het Nieuwsblad and Omloop het van Hageland. While Lauren did race the Santos TDU in January in Australia, this weekend of racing is the traditional opening to the season and the first race for WM3 as a team.

Lauren is very much looking forward to the opening weekend after a successful training block in Calpe, Spain with the team over the past two weeks. The team stayed together in a big house which offered a more ‘family style’ environment to get to know each other and prepare for the season ahead.

pic: Anton Vos

“It was a really nice camp in Calpe, We trained really hard and also had a lot of fun together, the time went really fast which is a good sign and I think we are all really pumped to race now. ”

Yesterday Lauren took part in the recon ride of Saturday’s course for Nieuwsblad which consists of 124km with nine climbs and six cobbled sectors. It was a typical classics day with wind, mud and rain. It was a good opportunity to test equipment for the weekend’s races.

“We rode the course yesterday, which was really good to do, I have done it before but its important to get the feeling back of the steep climbs and rough cobbles so you feel more prepared, I was also really glad I tested the race bike setup, which not only looks fantastic, is also going to be super smooth for races of this nature.”

Lauren lines up with a strong squad including the Polish national champion, Kasia Niewiadoma and the Dutch champion, Anouska Koster. WM3 has more then a few cards to play and will be looks to surprise the competition.

“Im really excited to be part of such a strong group of girls, we are really strong as a team and I hope we can show this on the weekend”

 

Lauren finishes 4th Overall in Tour Down Under

Lauren has finished in 4th place in the general classification in the Santos women’s Tour Down Under. The four day stage race was a tough fought competition with time bonuses and intermediate sprints being the key to a solid result.

“I’m satisfied with this result, It’s not a win but it is a big confidence boost and tells me that training is on the right track towards the Spring classics in five weeks time”

Lauren with Port Macquarie Cycle Club members after stage 4

Lauren raced as part of the NSWIS- Sydney Uni team for the race and was thankful to be able to start with the development squad and take the leadership role. The NSWIS – Sydney Uni squad is racing under the director, ex- pro Katie Brown and marked the first race of the year for the team.

“The team was great, its a good group of girls and they went pretty well racing against some of the top women in the world, we came into the race as probably the lowest ranked team the team many people didn’t expect much of and we finished with a fourth place in the GC as well as being a factor in the sprint competition, I think thats impressive!”

Lauren won one of the bonus sprints during stage 4

Lauren will now return to Port Macquarie for a ten day period before heading to Europe to link up with her professional team, WM3 Pro cycling.

“This result has made me even more excited to get over to Europe, my form is coming along nicely and now I can’t wait to get over there and spend time with my team mates”

Lauren’s next races will be in the Spring Classics where she is looking to build on some solid performances last season in the biggest races.

“Last season I wanted top 10s now I want a win, I think its the natural progression and now I feel ready to take that step with my new team WM3”

Lauren kicks off 2017 at the Australian Nationals

Lauren has officially started her 2017 season with the WM3 Pro cycling team with the national road race championship today in Ballarat, Victoria. Lauren finished the race in 18th place, and while the result is not what Lauren was hoping for, she is taking a few positives away from the championship while she builds for the start of the European season at the end of February.

Pic: Pioneer 

“My result today wasn’t pleasing to me, I didn’t have the legs to follow Katrin and Spratty on the climb and full credit to them they were the strongest and deserved the results they got. I am building towards the Spring classics and while I would have liked to have been more of a contender, this race ultimately is a stepping stone to bigger goals later in the season”

With a long season ahead, Lauren has chosen to focus on the Spring Classics and sees today’s race as great preparation for this.

“I want to be a bigger player in the classics this year, I proved to myself last year I can be there in the biggest races and now with a strong WM3 team I hope to play a big role through the Spring period. Today is still seven weeks until the first race of the spring so Im right on track for that”

Lauren will now travel to Adelaide where she will race the Tour Down Under with the NSWIS squad as a guest rider.

“Tour Down Under is a great race for the aussies, I am looking forward to mentoring some of the NSWIS girls and getting some good intensity in before another good training block and heading over to Europe for the final preparations. While I would love to win a stage, Im not sure what to expect with a dynamic field and a mixed course.”

The Tour Down Under starts on Jan 14th and concludes with a criterium in Adelaide on Jan 17th.