Resilience

Resilience is a term we hear more often these days, particularly in relation to sport and overcoming adversity. But why is it something that we should consider and something we should work on?

Being resilient allows you to overcome adversity and generally be in a stronger position than before facing the obstacle. 

In my own experience, being mental resilient has not only increased the longevity of my cycling career, it has opened doors in many different avenues in life leading to opportunities to grow as a person and an athlete. 

Photo; Andy Rogers, TDU 2020.

In 2014 I experienced an injury ridden season, While this season is my worst in terms of results or input towards team goals, it is also the year I learn the most about myself and grew as an athlete and person. I began experiencing pain in my left leg whenever I went ‘hard’ for more then about 30 seconds. This mentally hurt me because my first thought was that I simply needed to train harder and then I wouldn’t be dropped in races. I knew deep down this wasn’t right and with the help of my family and coach I sought out help, I was diagnosed with external iliac artery endofibrosis. This is a reasonably common problem with professional cyclists, however one that requires surgery and a lengthy time off the bike to recover. It was March when I found out these details, basically 1 month into a 8 month season. In discussions with my coach and family, we decided to stay in ‘the flow of the seasons’ and have the surgery at the end of the season. That meant I faced the rest of the season knowing I was limited in my physical performance and recovery. 

This is the time I really learnt how to train, previously I didn’t place the value on quality training that I had to in this moment, I was faced with a clear obstacle in my career and training smarter and at a higher quality then I ever previously had was the result. Mentally this was a tough period, while I couldn’t physically perform to a high level, that I expected, I was faced with a team director who didn’t believe my diagnosis and became challenging to work with, this lead to high stress for me as contract negotiations were beginning and without options for a 2015 contract I had my back against the wall. Financially I was struggling, all the funds I earned as a rider I put back into my development, through gym memberships, massages or training days. I know you only get out what you put in and this was a time to invest all I had into future me. I had learnt growing up that you can always find a way and your attitude plays a massive role in your situation, but my beliefs were stressed and values questioned during this time. 

Winning the Ronde van Overijsel in 2015 in The Netherlands

Mentally this year was hard and looking back there were a lot of times I was unhappy, but I knew it would change, I knew that if I trusted the process, it would work out and I just put my head down and concentrated on what I could control and tried to not worry about what I could not. I was offered a contract extension by Team Hitec Products as they valued me as a person and still believed in my potential. This lifeline and faith from Karl Lima (team manager) kept me in the sport and focusing on what was still possible to achieve. I had the surgery at the beginning of October in 2014 and I went on to win 5 UCI races in 2015, including the Oceania Championship title and my first big race in Europe, the Ronde van Overijssel in The Netherlands, as well as being nominated for the Australian female road cyclist of the year award. I am grateful to have faced and overcome the challenges physically, mentally and emotionally in 2014 as it lead to 2015 being my most successful year to date on the bike in terms of victories and  has played a key role in every season since, showing how important resilience can be.  

In Hospital April 2018 after crashing in Amstel Gold Race

When I crashed on my face and broke my arm in the 2018 Amstel Gold Race, I worked hard through the rehabilitation period to stay mentally fresh and motivated for the second half of the season. This freshness from six weeks away from competition, I believe ultimately lead me to a successful back end of the season where I took 2 victories in France for my team. I was fresher then many of the other women in the peloton, both physically and mentally, as I was ‘forced’ to take a break and ultimately became stronger because of it. 

Facing obstacles makes you stronger. For me the deeper you have to search within yourself to overcome a challenge and find a way through, the higher you can soar when you overcome it. Attitude is everything, focusing on what you can control and finding the silver lining to the situation leads to resilience. 

Photo: Thomas Maheux
Winning my last race of the year in 2018, GP Isburgues in France

Fletcher and Sarker’s ‘A grounded theory for psychological resilience in Olympic Champions’ highlight 9 steps for developing resilience; 

  1. Develop a positive personality
  2. View your decisions as active choices not sacrifices 
  3. Use support available to you from other people
  4. Identify your motivation for succeeding 
  5. Focus on personal development
  6. View setbacks as opportunities for growth
  7. Strengthen your confidence from a range of sources
  8. Take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and behaviours 
  9. Concentrate on what you can control

I believe that these 9 steps are fundamental in overcoming challenging times and soaring to new heights. Resilience is a powerful asset to any athlete or in business. Growing this skill is within your control. 

Go Flourish

Loz :). 

Lauren continues the story with FDJ

I have re-signed with French registered Women’s World Team, FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope for the 2021 and 2022 seasons. This will bring my time with the team to a five year term, as I began working with the team in 2018. 

 I believe that within any workplace, team spirit and resilience through tough times are what make a team great and ultimately what will lead a team or workplace to perform. Our team is one of the longest running teams in the women’s peloton and that long term commitment and story is something inspiring to me. 

photo : Thomas Maheux

There are a number of reasons to why I have committed to two further seasons with this french squad. The team manager and management really value me as a person and a cyclist and are committed to continuing to develop my role as the road captain but will also allow me to continue to explore my potential as a leader for the hard Spring Classic races. This team is focused on the long term development of the squad as a whole, and have supported me through challenging times as well as fruitful times over the past two and half seasons. 

In 2018, my first season with the team, I broke my arm and required plastic surgery on my face after a crash in the Amstel Gold Race. I have never felt more supported by a team than in the month that followed the crash, they never put pressure on me to return to racing quickly and provided access to the best medical advice for an 100% recovery. I went on to take two victories for the team later that season. These victories were a direct result of feeling supported when times were tough for me.

The world is facing an unthinkable situation, something no one planned for, yet our team seems to have taken it in their stride. The team have continued to fully support me and my team mates, I’m sure there has been some stress behind the scenes, yet the leadership from Stephen gives me faith in this team, this project and our future as a squad. 

Photo: Laura Fletcher

This squad has a french heart but there is an international vibe, there is the deep french emotion and love of the sport running through the team, yet there is a cool and likeable Scandi influence from the northern European team members, balanced out with the laid back Aussie way to round it all together. 

I believe the best is yet to come, for me and for the team.

Three pieces of advice for my 20 year old self

First appeared on Voxwomen

I have recently been asked twice in the past week; What three things do you wish you had known earlier in your career/life? I didn’t have the answer straight away but having spent a lot of time in the past few weeks focusing on my mentality and what drives me. I have my answer;

1. Stop worrying about what everyone else thinks.This maybe something we hear a lot, focus on you, don’t worry what they say, but seriously this was probably the biggest growth factor in my mindset as an athlete and a human when I realised it didn’t matter what everyone else would think. At the end of the day the person you have to look after and be happy to live with is the person looking back at you in the mirror. The moment you realise this, it can be very freeing. At the end of the day your happiness shouldn’t depend on what others think about you, Your perception of yourself is within your control If you don’t like it then change it. I believe this is linked with self-confidence and this is an area that a lot of us can work on, including myself. 

2. Stay curious and ask questions.I guess I am well known for not being afraid to say what I think and to ask questions. There are a lot of people around you as an athlete who have input into your performance or routine, whether that be coaches, trainers, managers, nutritionists, team captains, psychologists, parents and partners. I believe you should always question advice if you are not sure or don’t understand the goal of the advice. Just because one person believes one thing it doesn’t make it correct or right for you, Ask questions, do your own research and don’t take anything at face value if it is important to you. Staying curious is also key for me in my pursuit to always keep learning. I used to think I knew a lot and never really accepted or sought help but over the years, particularly during my cycling career, through overcoming injuries and obstacles, I have realised that I indeed don’t know best a lot of the time and asking and accepting help isn’t a sign of weakness, it can keep you grounded and help you achieve more. 

3. Know you purpose and your mission. Maybe the most important piece of advice I would give myself;  To always come back to your WHY. Your purpose in life is what gets you out of bed in the morning and your values guide you in everything you do if you realise this or not. Your values are generally a result of your upbringing and what hardships or obstacles you have overcome to be where you are today. Everyone has different values for different reasons and that is a good thing, if we were all the same it would be boring. But you have the power to change your values if you choose. I believe your mission is what you decide to do with your purpose. My mission is to explore my potential in every aspect of life while empowering others to reach their goals. I get a lot out of helping others and seeing them succeed. I like logistics, planning and overseeing situations and I believe this skillset can help others to reach their potential and in turn lead me to discover the best version of Lauren.  Knowing what gives you satisfaction in life can be empowering and personally helps to make things clear, every choice or decision I make comes back to this and makes it a lot more simple. Knowing your WHY is important. 

If I had known and more importantly believed these pieces of advice when I was 20 years old and just starting out, my career may have been different but I wouldn’t have changed anything if I had the opportunity to. Everyone’s path is different and is shaped by our experiences. I just hope my path right now is leading back to some bikes races soon! Lauren Kitchen

Leadership

First appeared on Voxwomen

During these challenging times, normal life as we know it has been turned upside down in nearly every aspect with countries being in complete lockdown, shops and businesses closing up or operating under strict rules and regulations and nearly all travel worldwide banned or next to impossible, we are seeing leaders step up, both in a political sense along with business leaders and community leaders. These thoughts made me stop and think about the leaders that have shaped my life and helped make me who I am today. 

Thomas Maheux

Pubali Chakravorty-Campbell (the CEO of Human Resource Partners) highlights the opportunity for potential through challenging times; ‘Unpleasant and harsh life experiences.. leave us with so much knowledge’ I believe  this means that we grow more through hardships and failures then we do when we have success or no setbacks in our path. Personally I have had some key leaders in my life that have had a lasting effect on who I am today and continue to have an impact through the lessons I have learnt overcoming obstacles in my career as a professional cyclist and as a human. 

Some of the key leaders in my life include;

Graham Seers; My first coach, Seersy taught me everything about bike racing, not just how to train, how to read a bike race and how to suffer but also about life, people, food and being accountable. I remember one experience in particular; Mersey Valley Tour 2008. It was a selection race for the U19 Australian Junior World Championships team. I was a favourite for the race and the selection. The race was combined with the Elite women’s category, while separate results were recorded. I remember after the second stage I was leading the U19 category by seven minutes on the GC, essentially I had wrapped up the race with a long breakaway on stage 2 with Carlee Taylor (Elite women). Stage three was another hilly road race and I finished with the main group behind a breakaway of Elite women, winning the U19 GC by seven minutes. Seersy had told me he would wait for me at the finish before going to the feed zone for the U19 men. When I finished the race he was not there. He told me after that he was disappointed that I hadn’t followed the breakaway in the stage as we knew I had the legs to be there, he told me that I showed weakness to my competitors just two weeks before the national title. Even though I won the U19 tour, I don’t remember being proud or happy with this, instead I was disappointed and realised I still had a lot go room to grow, I learnt a lesson and for that I am very thankful to Seersy. Seersy taught me to never give up, don’t show weakness and always race everyone in the race, this applies not just to bike racing but all aspects of life.  Seersy always fights for what he believes in, even if others don’t agree with him. Without lessons like this from Seersy I would not be the bike racer or person I am today. 

Bradley McGee; NSWIS head coach, Personal Coach 2014-2018 and National Coach 2018- Present day. I have always had a huge amount of respect for Brad, I find his personal accomplishments inspiring. His natural leadership is now steering Cycling Australia’s road program to new heights, evident through the success of the last couple of World Championships results. Brad taught me how to believe in myself, and that I should fight for what I believe in right to the end. Brad inspires those around him to be better, he brings people together with his dynamic and exciting  visionary approach to coaching. While these challenging times will indeed requires dynamic approaches, I have no doubt that the women’s road program will come out stronger with Brad taking the lead to support us through this holding pattern. 

Tony Thorne and Geoff Freeman; King and Campbell Consultancy. I have completed a Bachelor’s degree in Town Planning. I completed it over eight years via distance education through the University of New England. As part of my degree I completed two blocks of six weeks of work experiences at the King and Campbell consultancy in Port Macquarie. I thoroughly enjoyed my work at King and Campbell during these blocks of work experience and had the opportunity to be exposed to great leaders in the business world in my home community. Tony has a way with words and a presence that is felt, he taught me about my profession and how important it is to make use of those around you. Geoff taught be about how to read people and the situation, he always offered advise and had time for my questions, Both Tony, Geoff along with others at King and Campbell forced me out of my comfort zone and taught me how to problem solve and find a solution with decisiveness, clear communication skills and always with integrity. 

Mum, Robbi. My mum has always encouraged me to chase my dreams and always found a way for me to do what I loved. I never realised how many scarifies she made while I was growing up for this mentality to take shape inside me and my brother Nick, a ranking officer of the Australian Army. Mum has taught me that you are in charge of your thoughts and how you react to a situation, but most importantly she taught me that there is always a way if you want something enough. Mum taught me how to work hard and I have learnt how to put in the hard work to achieve a goal from my mum. When I made the Australian Junior Worlds team in 2007 I was required to pay a levy to travel to the World Championships in Mexico. My mum was unable to pay this directly so I sold thousands of Cadbury chocolates over 3-4 months to raise the money, each day at school I would forgo my lunch hour to guilt-trip teachers into buying chocolates so I could follow my dream to represent my country. My mum always found a way, she never gave up when it got hard and this mentality has lead me to a professional cycling career in Europe. 

Thomas Maheux

Stephen Delcourt, Team manager FDJ, Stephen has a vision, he is on a journey to grow his professional team to the top level women’s cycling. He works so hard, puts his heart and soul into the team and has inspired me to join the cause. I believe in our team and feel the emotion behind the team. The team means more than just a business transaction or sponsorship opportunity. It provides empowerment and belief to everyone involved. Stephen leads the team, staff, riders and partners and I feel confident he will lead the team successfully through this challenging time. 

It is time to step up and lead, whether that is lead your organisation, your friendship group, your family or simply your mental and physical health. Life is changing and in order to survive and flourish we must adapt as a humankind. In order to maintain equilibrium under pressure we need everyone to find the leader inside themselves to help others to be better each day and support each other, to inspire others to do what is best for everyone, to be selfless. 

We are facing something that is bigger than just you. Find the leader in you. 

Lauren Kicks off 2020 with Tour Down Under

Lauren get 2020 underway down under

Lauren has captained her French professional squad through the first professional race of the season at the Tour Down Under in Adelaide last week with the team picking up a solid top ten result in every stage and captivating the race coverage through breakaways and aggressive racing. 

Lauren picked up 8th place in stage one in a bunch sprint, however it was her team mate, Brodie Chapman, who animated the race with a strong breakaway in the final 50km, she was only caught with 500m remaining in the stage! 

The team continued with this style throughout the race and picked up a further three top ten results over the next three days. 

Photo: Laura Fletcher

“It was a great start, the team atmosphere is good, it’s really important to start with this attitude and nature at the start of the season, if we continue to race this way, big results will follow”

Lauren was pleasantly surprised with her level for the first race of the year, being able to follow the moves over the climbs on the selective days.

“Spratt and the Mitchelton girls were at a different level to everyone, along with Winder, who ultimately won the race, but I am really happy with my level at the moment, I exactly where I need to be for January and I’m really trusting the process and happy to see that my preseason work is paying off”

 Photo: Laura Fletcher

Lauren is now training in Adelaide until the 27th of January before heading to Geelong for Ride Torquay on Jan 30th and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on February 1. Lauren will the return to France for team presentation on February 8th in Poitiers, France.

“It’s all started again now, but I’m happy to be where I’m at now, I’m seeing a few positive signs and I’m looking forward to the next races in Geelong”

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!”

post race Ronde van Drenthe

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