Strade Bianche may not have a long history but the unique nature and challenging course offered a fantastic event to open the UCI Women’s World Tour (WWT) yesterday in Siena, Tuscany. The WWT is made up of 17 events across the season and offers a stage for the pinnacle of women’s cycling to perform at the top level. All events must include either live coverage or a TV package of the race in order to boost the media profile of the sport.
Strade Bianche’s first women’s edition was held in 2015 and while Lauren and her Hitec Products’s team didn’t take part it was a great event and a race Lauren really looked forward to this season. The iconic race was 121km long and included just over 23km of gravel roads looping around the Chianti vineyards to the south of Siena. While the gravel roads provide a challenging obstacle, the rolling climbs and limited flat roads makes this event one of the hardest on the calendar.
“I really was looking forward to Strade, It looked like such a cool race last year and with it being World Tour this year I had this as my first goal for the Spring this season. I went into the race with a goal to be top 10, I really wanted this but I also was a little unsure as I didn’t know where I was at form wise on the longer climbs and against such a top level field.”
photo: Matt Attard
Lauren continued to make each selection over the first 5km climb then over the next two long gravel sections to be apart of the front 35 riders after 70km of the race. The next 4 gravel sections were short but included very steep climbs and this is where Lauren forced herself into the selection of riders that formed the chase group behind the leading trio of World Champion, Lizzie Armistead, European Champion, Kasia Niewadomia and Swedish Champion, Emma Johannson. The chase group swelled form 7 riders to 14 in the closing 5km of the race with Lauren eventually finishing in 9th place in Siena for a good days work.
“Im really happy with this result, it was my first goal of the Spring and to be up there with the best in the business on such a hard course, it shows my form is just where it needs to be for this part of the season and it gives me confidence for the next few weeks and the next WWT events”
Lauren now turns her attention to the Ronde van Drenthe, which is the next round of the WWT taking place in The Netherlands next weekend.
The video highlights of the race can be seen here:
Photo: Cycling Tips