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 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.

Lauren to race TDU with National Team

Lauren has been selected to be a part of the Uni SA Australian National Team for the upcoming Tour Down Under. The race will run from Jan 11th until 14th around the hinterland of Adelaide in South Australia. The UCI 2.1 event will offer not only a great opportunity to race in front of a home crowd but with the race carrying a higher ranking, the quality of the field has increased and should offer fierce competition to kickstart the 2018 season. The stacked national team is lead by World Championships duel medalist from 2017, Katrin Garfoot, along with 2012 worlds medalist, Rach Neylan. Tiff Cromwell, an Adelaide local will add firepower and local knowledge. The fifth rider named alongside Lauren, is Lauren’s trade team mate, Shara Gillow, a 4X national Champion.

“I’m really looking forward to this race!, We have an incredibly strong team and I think it will be a great battle with a few of the squads over the four day race.”

The stages this year offer varied terrain with undulating courses for stages 1 and 3 and a hill top finish for stage 2. Stage 4 doubles as the People’s Choice Classic for the men’s race and will offer a lung busting criterium to finish the race. The varied terrain will suit the National team and give them each an opportunity to show their strengths and fight together for the victory.

“I think for sure we have one of, if not the strongest team in the race, I expect us to fight for the victory and that could be from any one of the girls, I guess we will see how we are traveling each day and back the girl with the best legs.”

The Tour Down Under will be hotly contested this year as it offers a moment to shine in front of Commonwealth Games selectors.

“I’d love to be considered for the Com Games, I think the course there suits me and I think I can be added value to the squad there. So therefore TDU is important to show my form and commitment to the team with an eye on the Gold Coast race in April.”

Lauren will first compete in the Australian National Criterium and Road Race championships next week in Ballarat, along side teammate Shara Gillow.

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.

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”