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 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!”

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”