Stephens flies to sixth at Gent-Wevelgem
It was another wet, windy, and frenetic day on the cobbled roads of West Flanders. However, Lauren Stephens still delivered Team TIBCO Silicon Valley Bank to an excellent sixth place at Gent Wevelgem and unlocked one of the team's key goals: a top ten finish at a WorldTour race.
"Each race, I've had the support and encouragement from my teammates and staff," Stephens said. "But what has inspired and driven me during the races is the excitement and satisfaction my team has shown to support me."
Lauren Stephens stays near the front of the race on the cobbled climbs. Photo/Velofocus
The 141km race went well for the entire team, who started out aggressively with Emily Newsom, Shannon Malseed, and Leah Dixon factoring in the early breaks. However, with swirling winds, no break was allowed off the front until the Kemmelburg made the first selection naturally.
"We had Lauren, Nina Kessler and Sharlotte Lucas in the front group of 40ish riders," team director Rachel Hedderman said. "Through the next sections, there was some regrouping until the next ascent of the Kemmelberg. A group of 11 riders, including Lauren, went clear, and from there, it was full gas to the finish."
The front group gained 40 seconds on a motivated chase group, who crawled back up to the leaders just as the finish was in sight.
"Lauren rode a strong and smart race, being in the right place and using her efforts well to sprint to a great sixth place," Hedderman said.
Stephens leads the front group in the latter part of the race. Photo/Velofocus
Next up… To cap off Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank's European race block, the team heads to the Tour of Flanders on Oct. 18 for another challenging and famous Belgian parcours. The race begins at 1:45 p.m. CEST (4:45 a.m. PST). Live streaming will be available on Flobikes.com and GCN Race Pass starting at 3:45 p.m. CEST (6:45 a.m. PST). "The team is really working well together, and we're looking forward to finishing off what has been a concentrated Euro campaign with Flanders next weekend," Hedderman said.
Tour of Flanders roster
Lauren Stephens Nina Kessler Kristen Faulkner Leah Dixon Sharlotte Lucas Emily Joy Newsom