Lauren steps onto the podium

Today Lauren finished second in the UCI race La Picto Charentaise in Poitiers, France. The race is quite important for her team FDJ-Nouvelle Aquataine Futuroscope, as it takes place in the backyard of the main sponsors and the home of the team. Lauren is also based in this area while she is in Europe. So it’s a bit like a home race for her and the team. 
The course was essentially flat with a short power climb near to the finish, the race consisted of 8 laps of 15km. Without any major climbs to make the difference, Lauren and her young french team, including 4 girls younger than 21, decided to ride hard as team mid race in a short section of the course with cross wind. This forced a selection and the team were represented with 5 girls in a group of 9, a very good situation for the team to play a tactical final. With the goal to win the race alone, Lauren and her teammates began attacking this breakaway in the final 20km of the race. Unfortunately Lauren ended up in a small group of 3 riders with a very strong Gladys Vurhulst from Charente-Maritime Cycling team and Brazilian climber Flavia Olivera. The final breakaway arrived at the finish just before the bunch, where Lauren took 2nd in the sprint. 


“To be honest I’m a bit disappointed, the team rode such a great race today, we really made the race and set it up well, I just couldn’t finish it off and that’s disappointing, however less then a week ago I had to pull out of the Ladies Tour of Norway after not recovering so well from my crash in Sweden 10 days ago, so I’m really happy to see the form has returned and I can be confident for the final part of the season now leading into the World Championships”

Lauren leads the breakaway with three teammates in her wheel


“While it isn’t the biggest race on the calendar it is nice for me to be back on a UCI podium, its been a solid season but without a big result, so this just gives me confidence that we are working in the right direction for the Worlds.”


Lauren’s team also picked up the win in the teams classification to top of a nearly perfect day.


“While it wasn’t the win we were after, I think we can be proud of this 2nd place, we did a great race as a team and if we keep racing like this then big results will keep coming!”

Altitude training

Lauren has recently spent three weeks in the Italian Alps preparing for the second half of the 2019 season. She spent one week at high altitude of Stelvio Pass (2778m) and the two weeks in Livingo (1800m). The self supported training camp was an opportunity to rest, reflect and recover from a busy first section of the season and an opportunity to train hard for the busy upcoming second part of the season.


“I really wanted to get back to Livingo this year, Ive missed it the last couple of years, I find that it sets me up really well for the back end of the season, so I am really grateful that I had the time to get there this year. I decided to spend the first 6 days on top of Stelvio pass, which is one of the highest paved roads in Europe. I decided this as I was coming straight from a hard week of racing and I wanted to really focus on rest and recovery and just let the altitude work without doing too much physically.”

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“When I travelled to Livigno after six days at Stelvio then t was time to get into some training, My coach, Cedric, set some challenging training sessions but also prioritised recovery, so the altitude can work itself. I mainly worked on a three day block program while I was on my camp, with three days of training and one recovery day before starting again. I had a teammate join me for the last week or so I was in Livingo also which was nice.”


The camp was a great moment for Lauren to reflect on the season to date and also look ahead to the coming months with a fresh perspective and motivation.


“The first part of the season wasn’t bad, but wasn’t super good either, I think it was solid, I had some good days on the bike and some solid performances, overall I am happy to have had a season so far without any big disturbances, like last year breaking my arm. I think my form is building quite well towards the back end of the season, The world tour races in Sweden, Norway and The Netherlands in August and September are great races for me to show myself and I have a fresh motivation moving towards these events after a solid camp.” “The end of the season really show who has done the work, both physically and mentally, I am looking forward to showing myself in these races.”


Lauren’s race schedule for the coming months:
KBE, France UCI 2.2  Aug 1-2

Ride London, UK WWT Aug 3

Sweden WWT Aug 17-18

Ladies Tour of Norway WWT Aug 22-25

La Picto, France UCI 1.2 Aug 30

Boels Ladies Tour, The Netherlands WWT Sep 3-8

Madrid, Spain, WWT Sep 14-15

GP Isbergues, France UCI 1.2, Sep 22

Lauren win’s her height in Beer

Lauren finished up the Tour of Yorkshire on Saturday with a team truck full of beer and some very happy staff members after she won a special intermediate sprint prize in stage 1 where she won her height in beer. The two day stage race, on Friday and Saturday was held over challenging terrain across Yorkshire in Northern England. Along with the tough course, the peloton also were faced with two days of pouring rain and strong winds along with hail and maximum temperatures of 3 degrees. The races was attending by a top level peloton, as Yorkshire will host the 2019 world championships in September and a lot of riders chose to race to get a feel for the conditions they may face later in the year.


Stage one saw Lauren filter the day long breakaway after around 40km of racing, the front group of six riders came together shortly after the main climb of the day and contested the intermediate sprint on the finish line of the world championships course in Harrogate and further along the course a special sprint put on by the The Black Sheep Brewery. With a team plan to be aggressive, Lauren rode hard in the breakaway and managed to be first across the line for both sprints on the road, this meant she took 3 bonus seconds at the sprint in Harrogate and most importantly her height….around two metres…. in beer at the sprint at kilometre 115. 

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“I was happy to get into the breakaway, it was a really cold day on the bike with the conditions, three degrees and rain, and then i just focused on trying to take those sprints. You should have heard my director in my radio when he heard I won the beer sprint!”
Lauren’s breakaway group rode hard and held off the peloton until 3km from the finish line, after nearly 100km off the front, it was a big day out. Lauren’s teammate, Emilia Fahlin, sprinted home to 9th place to secure a top ten finish for the stage and a successful day for the team.
“It was a big day out for me, It was hard in the break but it gave my teammates an easier ride behind in the peloton and it was nice to have the opportunity to be at the front of the race after a few races with some bad luck”


Stage two saw the peloton tackle some very steep and  challenging climbs in winds of 50km/h. The tough day ripped the peloton apart. Lauren finished in the remains of the peloton with teammate Emilia securing a top 15 in the overall with 13th in the stage and 14th overall. While the result may not have been the goal, it was a great couple of days with the team and an opportunity to get a feel for Yorkshire and what the worlds could be like come September. 

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On Sunday, Lauren and two of her teammates did a course recon ride fo the World Championships. It was very beneficial and now gives Lauren a clear idea of what is required for the race and also for selection to the Australian team. 


“It was great to have the chance to see the course, Thanks a lot to my team for supporting this, its a really tough course, much harder then it looks on paper and the weather could make it even more challenging, In saying that, I also really liked what I saw and I am now super motivated to work towards this goal with the Australian cycling team”


“Overall it was a really nice few days in Yorkshire, I’m very tired now, but I think it was for sure my favourite race so far this year, I love racing in the UK and can’t wait for Women’s Tour in just over 1 month and the Worlds in September!” 


Next up for Lauren is the three day Easy Jacobs tour in Luxembourg this weekend before a short rest period to end the first part of the season. 

photos: Thomas Maheux

An epic weekend in Drenthe

Last weekend Lauren competed in the Drentse 8 van Dwingeloo 1.2 last Friday and the Ronde van Drenthe World Tour race on Sunday. The 145km race on Friday was shaped by the extreme wind of 70-80kmph ripping across northern Holland. The peloton were faced with very small roads and two accents of the infamous Vamberg climb, a manmade rubbish tip hill which this year also featured a cobblestone sector, along with two flat cobblestone sectors. The race was on directly with Lauren missing the front selection in the wind after the opening 20km.

“I felt good but not great, I didn’t have the legs to be in the front selection of 8 riders that ended up going to the finish after the raced was ripped apart after 20km, I ended up in the chase group of about 25 riders behind this group and therefore I saw this race as good preparation for Sunday”

Of the nearly 200 riders to take to the start line on Friday only 36 riders finished the race due to the tough weather conditions. Lauren eventually finished in 23rd place but in good spirits for the main event of the weekend, the World Tour race on the Sunday.

“While 23rd is not a great result, I choose to see the positives of getting a good solid race in the legs that will help me for the next races, plus in these winds, I was happy to stay upright! many girls didn’t…”

Sunday’s Ronde van Drenthe is known as one of the toughest races of the Spring. This year the race featured 165km of racing including 11 cobbled sections and three times the Vamberg climb. The weather for the race was 3-4 degrees with high winds, hail and rain on the menu. All of this set up an epic edition of the Ronde van Drenthe.

Lauren didn’t have a good start, being out of position for the first key moment of the race at 20km, being caught behind two crashes. This meant missing the front group and chasing for 60km to return to the front of the race. After the final climb of the Vamberg with 60km to go, Lauren was in the front group of approximately 40 riders with 3 long cobbled sections still to come and multiple exposed roads with high chance of cross winds. After 150km of racing and suffering the race split to pieces as the peloton approached the final cobbled section, Lauren continued fighting to make the best of the situation but would eventually finish in 28th position after more the 4.5hrs of racing.

“I’m really disappointed not to have a result to show for today’s effort, but in reality with the way the race panned out I didn’t have the legs int he final after having to burn my matches early, it was an epic edition in Drenthe and for sure one I won’t forget for a while”

“I have a young team and it was definitely an experience for them this weekend, I think this experience will make them stronger and hopefully we can be fighting for some top 10 results soon”

“While I didn’t get the result I was looking for I did enjoy the racing and the suffering, plus I got a free mud mask!”

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Ready for the Classics to begin

Photo: Thomas Maheux

Lauren has now settled back into the European swing of things and is busy preparing for the upcoming classics season beginning on March 2nd with the Omloop het Nieuwsblad in Belgium. Lauren traveled to France to join her team after January’s Tour Down Under, then the team traveled to Cambrils, in Northern Spain for the preseason training camp. At the nine day camp the team had the opportunity to test their new equipment, including the new bikes with disc brakes, along with some spend some quality time in the saddle suffering together. With the great weather on offer, the camp passed quickly and it was soon time for the team’s presentation at Futuroscope, near Poitiers in France last week. This is a grand event for the team and its’ sponsors, giving the opportunity for the team’s sponsors, riders, fans and media to come together before the stresses of the season begin.

“I am really excited for the upcoming season with the girls and the staff, Im looking forward to getting started now, its been a long preseason and I feel like it is time to pin a number on and get stuck in.”

Photo: Thomas Maheux

Following the team presentation, the team headed to nearby La Roche Posay for a three day training camp with a focus on intensity and race efforts together.

“I am quietly confident of the team’s level this year, I have seen a solid step up across the board and Im looking forward to seeing what we can achieve this Spring and into the rest of the season!”

My Spring program is as follows:

Omloop het Nieuwsblad- March 2

Omloop het Hageland- March 3

Le Samyn- March 5

Drenthe 8- March 15

Drenthe WWT- March 17

De Panne- March 28

Gent – March 31

Ronde van Vlaanderen – April 7

Amstel Gold Race – April 21

Photo: Thomas Maheux

Lauren to Captain Uni SA Australia squad at Tour Down Under

Today Lauren has been named to the 2019 UniSA Australian Team for the Tour Down Under to take place from January 10-13 in Adelaide South Australia. This opportunity will give Lauren the chance to get a solid week of racing in following the national championships in Ballarat earlier that week.
Lauren has been named as the captain for the squad and will be the one to make the calls on the road and help to guide some of the younger riders making their national team debuts.

“I’m always looking forward to opportunities where I race in the Green and Gold, for me it’s a great chance to get a few extra days of racing in before I head to team training camp the week after in Spain. I am looking forward to being in a mentor role with some of the development riders and also looking for chances for myself as well as supporting the other strong girls, I think we have a really well balanced team and I can’t wait to get into it.”

The Tour Down Under takes place over four well balanced stages, offering some solid climbs and hard sprint stages. The GC will most likely be setup on the second stage with a finish on Menglers Hill. Last year Lauren and UniSA won the stage with Garfoot and will be looking to find further opportunities this year.

“The second stage finish is tough, there are most likely going to be some really strong climbers at the race and while this year we won’t have a favourite, I think we can definitely put up a strong challenge for a stage win and a solid GC result with a number of our riders.”

Before heading to the TDU in Adelaide, Lauren will take on the National Championships in Ballarat on Jan 6th and the TT on Jan 8th. Finishing 2nd last year in the road race has given Lauren some extra motivation heading into 2019 where the top spot is definitely the goal.

“I have been around the mark a number of times at nationals, I would love to win it, I know I have the legs for it but it all comes down to how it is raced and having a bit of luck as well. My goal is to be at my best for this period of the year, to give myself the best chance of taking the title.”

Lauren will then travel back to Europe to prepare for the Spring Classics via Spain for training camp with her team FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope.

Lauren ends the season by winning GP Isbergues

Lauren has ended her season in the best possible way by taking a solo win in the UCI french classic GP Isbergues on September 23. The victory was especially sweet coming after a difficult season, where Lauren has had to overcome a broken arm after a hard crash in the Spring.

photo; Thomas Maheux

“I was very happy and relieved to take the victory last Sunday in Isbergues, it was really hard to get back to top shape after breaking the crash I sustained in the Spring and this victory makes the hard work worth it. It is also the best way I can thank the team for their support of me during the recovery period and for their continued faith in me.”

The weather played a pivotal role in the race with torrential rain and wind present from start to finish. Lauren was part of a strong FDJ team for the race, with team mate Eugenie Duval attacking solo after just 10km and spending almost 100km solo in front. When she was caught with 25km to go, FDJ immediately began attacking and counter attacking again to regain control of the race. After a number of attacks from all the remaining team members, Lauren was alone in front with 22km remaining and continued to ride strongly at 20″ in front of the peloton for the remaining kilometres to win alone.

“The gap didn’t really change when I was in front, I just kept pushing and believing, with 5km to go I was thinking maybe they might start thinking about 2nd place and I could be lucky. It was defiantly hard out there, but I’m proud of my ride but also the whole team, the riders and staff as well. It takes everyone to secure a victory.”

“Now I will take some rest and recover and try to switch off a bit from cycling before I refocus on 2019 where I defiantly want to chase some more victories!”

Lauren extends with FDJ- Nouvelle Aquitaine – Futuroscope

Lauren is very pleased to share the news that she has agreed to an extension with the FDJ- Nouvelle Aquitaine – Futuroscope Cycling team. 2018 has been Lauren’s first season with the French registered squad after moving from WM3 Procycling last season.

photo Thomas Maheux

“I have really enjoyed my time in the team this season, I feel supported and valued here and I feel it is an environment in which I have the opportunity to help the younger riders in the team, along with the team leaders and to have individual opportunities when they present themselves.”

Lauren has finished twice on the podium this season, in the Australian National Championships and in Le Samyn des Dames. She suffered a setback in the Spring resulting from a crash in the Amstel Gold race ending with a broken arm requiring surgery and facial wounds requiring plastic surgery.

“My crash in Amstel was a bit of a setback, it took me quite a long time to feel normal again and I still notice a little difference, but thats part of it I guess. The team really supported me during this period, Im really thankful for this, Im a long way from home and family in France and the team really stepped up and it meant a lot to me.”

“Im looking forward to continue building my relationship with the girls and staff on the team and continuing to see what is possible in my abilities with a focus on the spring classics next season.”

Lauren will be racing in Sweden and Norway for the next rounds of the Women’s World Tour before the Boel’s rental Ladies Tour in the Netherlands and then racing in Madrid to finish off her season.

“It’s now getting towards the end of the season, Im proud to have got a few results earlier in the year for the team but I would like to finish strong for the team, so I’m motivated for these last races which I think suit my abilities a lot.”

Lauren preps for Scandinavian racing week

Lauren is heading to Sweden this week to compete in the next few rounds of the Women’s World Tour. The next rounds are taking place in Vargarda Sweden and in Halden in Norway. First up for Lauren and her FDJ team is a 42km Team Time Trial on Saturday before a one day road race on Monday. The team then moves north to Norway for again a team time trial on the 16th of August before a three day tour from the 17th to the 19th around Halden in Norway. The races offer challenging terrain, suiting explosive riders that can climb and sprint well. The racing is often dynamic with a number of race situations possible. The weather can also be a factor while racing in the north of Europe.

“Im really looking forward to these races, I missed them last year and that only makes me more motivated to return to Sweden and Norway, We have a strong team and I think we can be in the mix in all the races”

Lauren will be joined by fellow Australian, Shara, the two dutch teammates Moniek and Rozanne, along with two of the younger french stars; Maelle and Greta. This international team will look to show the FDJ colours and race aggressive.

Lauren is focused on this month of race after building a solid foundation over the past 2 months since returning to racing from her broken arm injury in April.

“It took me quite a long time to feel good in the races again after breaking my arm in Amstel, quite a lot longer then I thought it would to be honest, but last week in London, I finally felt fresh and fit and strong again and I’m hoping that my freshness after missing some training and racing earlier in the season will help me be more competitive later in the season.”

 

Lauren picks up the silver medal at the Nationals

Lauren finishes 2nd in the Australian National Road race championships

The road nationals premier event, the road race, took place around the familiar Victorian circuit in Buninyong, just outside of Ballarat today. The 102km event was a hotly contested event with the biggest depth in the field in recent years.

Lauren and her teammate, Shara Gillow, stuck to their plan and nearly stole the national title, only to be denied by a classy ride from Tibco rider, Shannon Malseed.

photo: Kirsty Baxter

Lauren was part of the early break, which formed in the opening 2km of the race. The trio of riders, including Jessica Allen from Mitchellton Scott and Specialized racing rider; Kate Perry built up a maximum lead of over 4 minutes at one stage and were only caught as they approached the final climb with 12km to go.

“It was definitely a big day out for me, I rode the whole race in the breakaway, I knew it was the best situation for Shara if I was in front, and also for myself to be able to make the selection in the last few laps.”

“We knew we had to reduce the Mitchellton Scott numbers to be in with a chance in the finish and we thought if I went up the road they would be forced to ride and burn a few girls and hopefully Shara and I could both be there to contest the podium”

The plan worked perfectly, with Shara making the elite selection of 6 riders to bridge to Lauren’s group as the leaders got the bell for one lap to go. Lauren’s breakaway companions were dropped as they started the final climb of Mount Buningyong, leaving Lauren and Shara as the team with the most numbers in the final selection of 7 racing towards the finish.“I really was hoping that Shara could sneak away between the climb and the finish straight but it just didn’t quite work out that way, she was heavily marked. Kat Garfoot attacked with about 2k to go and it was looking like the win, but Shara buried herself to give me the chance to sprint for the win, we caught Kat with less then 300m to go and Dash (Malseed) was just too quick for me.”

Photo: Kirsty Baxter

After spending 90km in the breakaway a silver medal felt like a win for Lauren and a great platform to build on for the next races before the important Spring Classics.

“I’m really happy with this medal, I mean I was close to the win and that’s hard to take but I’m also really happy to win silver this year, I didn’t get many big results last year and this is definitely a turning point for me and a great way to start the year with FDJ!”

Lauren and Shara will both ride as part of the Uni SA Australian National team at Tour Down Under in Adelaide next week.