Photo Credit: Ethan Glading
In the team’s final stage race of the season, Team TIBCO - Silicon Valley Bank’s Lauren Stephens (USA) scored three podiums at the Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l'Ardèche, a seven-stage race in the Ardennes region of France.
The Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l'Ardèche is known for its relentless terrain and big climbs. Over the course of 7 stages, riders climbed nearly 50,000 feet over a total of 526 miles. Stephens was a contender from the start of the race, showing recovery from an injury that has challenged much of her 2019 and 2018 seasons.
Sprinting from a whittled down field, Stephens claimed 3rd place on Stage 1. On the second day, Stephens launched an attack that only eventual stage winner Marianne Vos could follow and finished 2nd overall. On the fifth stage, Marta Bastianelli won the race in a solo breakaway, with Stephens sprinting to third again behind Vos.
“For 18 months, I was dealing with soft tissue damage in my hip,” said Stephens. “The doctors kept telling me I needed more time. I was beginning to wonder if the pain would ever go away. Then, about 6 weeks ago, the pain was gone.
“This race was so exciting to have three podiums in seven days to show I’m back to the rider I was before I was injured. I could not have been successful without the teammates and staff I had for this race, said Stephens. The encouragement, loyalty and commitment of each member of the team on and off the bike kept me motivated day after day."