Team TIBCO Silicon Valley Bank carry momentum from nationals to Europe
After a fantastic team ride at US nationals resulting in a hard-fought and well-deserved win for Lauren Stephens, spirits are high on Team TIBCO Silicon Valley Bank. The squad plan to capitalize on the momentum during the eighth edition of La Course by the Tour de France, coming up on Saturday, June 26.
Stephens celebrates her first US Pro title. Photo/Patrick Daly
At 108 kilometres, the one-day event includes four laps over the Côte de la Fosse aux Loups in Brittany, which will be the biggest point of concern for the riders. The fourth time up the climb, which is three kilometres long and 5.1 percent average, will also feature as the race finale.
"The course is an undulating one, with plenty of ups and downs, and the weather forecast is suggesting we may have some of the rain that we escaped for most of the spring classics, so we're expecting a tough race, and we are looking forward to it," director Rachel Hedderman said.
The race will be broadcast live on Eurosport 1 and GCN, starting at 8.15am CEST (Europe and Asia only). The race will air in the US on NBC Sports and stream via Peacock Premium.
Newly crowned US national champion Lauren Stephens flew to France with Kristen Faulkner and Clara Honsinger immediately after a short podium celebration in Knoxville to start preparations for La Course.
"We worked really well together as a team at Nationals, and I'm excited to bring that momentum to La Course and execute team strategy," said Faulkner. "We gained a lot of trust and confidence in each other, and cycling is a whole different sport when a team works well together.
"Building trust in each other takes time and practice, and it's rewarding to see it grow with every race. We trusted each other in tactics, physical capabilities, communication, and all other aspects. It was exciting to see it all come together last week, and I can't wait to watch us build on that even more."
Lauren Stephens, Kristen Faulkner and Clara Honsigner will start La Course on Saturday, pictured with Emily Newsom and director Katheryn Curi. Photo/Patrick Daly
The US contingent will join Leah Dixon (GBR) and Tanja Erath (GER) on the startline for La Course.
"I'm super excited to be competing in La Course this year," Dixon said. "Last year was my first time at the race. I quickly realised the magnitude and excitement a few days before and enjoyed the build-up. This year is a different course. I expect the finishing laps to be a leg sapper and be a key to shaping the outcome of the race. We have a great team, so I'm excited to see what we can do."
Dixon went on to say she's been looking forward to this upcoming European block of racing, which includes the prestigious Giro Rosa stage race.
"I didn't have the greatest of starts to the season for the Belgium block due to sickness, and then Brexit and Covid travel challenges meant I couldn't travel to Germany to race at Thuringen. So it feels like a win to even make it to France. Both La Course and the Giro are iconic races, so I'm really excited to get stuck in. I've never done a race as long as the Giro before, so I'm looking forward to finding out what I'm capable of."
La Course starts at 8.20 a.m. CET and is scheduled to finish around 11.30 a.m.