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.
“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.
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