Lauren Stephens began racing in college in 2009. After she graduated with a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of North Texas in 2010, Lauren continued to train and race while balancing the demands of a full-time career as a high school math teacher.
In early 2013 Lauren’s results caught the eye of Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank founder Linda Jackson. Stephens won a national race, the Charlotte Presbyterian Criterium, ahead of a powerful field of sprinters. The result prompted Jackson to invite Stephens to race the Tour of California time trial. She also awarded Stephens a grant from Silicon Valley Cycling Foundation, a 501c3 Jackson founded to help promising female cyclists pursue their ambitions of becoming top international athletes.
The Criterium result, and a third place finish in the Joe Martin Stage Race (JMSR) prompted Jackson to offer Stephens a full-time position with the team and Lauren joined Team TIBCO - Silicon Valley Bank for the remainder of the 2013 season. The opportunity to race with the team in Europe that summer for five weeks was the catalyst Lauren needed to put her love of teaching on hold and pursue her burgeoning passion for cycling full-time.
Over the next several years, Lauren quickly rose to the top of the domestic peloton. She won the national race calendar in 2014, competed in the world championships for the U.S in 2015 and 2016 and finished 2015 ranked among the top 20 in the world. Her results on both the road and track led to her nomination to the long team for the 2016 Olympics in each discipline.
Her leadership skills and race savvy led to her being named the Captain of the team in 2017.
Two-time winner of the Joe Martin Stage Race Lauren Stephens, gives an inside view on what it takes to win!
Having raced JMSR eight times, with two previous wins, we catch up with Stephens to hear her thoughts on what it takes to win the event.
‘‘Joe Martin is the one race I have competed in every year since I began bike racing. In 2009 I won the women's 3/4 race. In 2013 I finished 3rd which led to my contract with Team TIBCO - Silicon Valley Bank. 2014 was my first win at Joe Martin and I feel there are several key factors that can play out for an overall win.
Winning stage 1, the individual uphill and short time trial is key to be in a position to win at the end of the four days. It is then very important to have a strong team behind you who can give the required support on both the road race stages which are very tough. On the first road stage the finishing straight has an 8% uphill gradient over the last 400 meters! It is very difficult to gain any significant time on these road race stages.
The 4th stage criterium around Fayetteville, Arkansas is technically difficult and also finishes on a steep uphill. It is a difficult stage on which to try and win the overall, but you can most certainly lose a lot of time and any lead you may have and so a good finish position is so important.”
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