HomeNewsRace Report: Stephens Solos to Stage Victory in Normandy

Race Report: Stephens Solos to Stage Victory in Normandy

Cynisca Lauren Stephens led the team at the Tour de Normandie with a stage win, two top ten stage finishes and sixth in the overall general classification (GC). The packed field included six UCI World Tour and 16 Continental teams. Sport director Gillian Ellsay sums up the four-day UCI 2.1 stage race in her race report below.

Stage 1 – ITT Bagnoles-de-l’Orne > Bagnoles-de-l’Orne (10.3k):
The team didn’t have great performances in the ITT overall. With several riders on new TT bikes for the first time, the riders learned many lessons from the day. Results: Top placing rider Lauren Stephens down 1:11″ from the lead.

Fiona helps Lauren to top 10 finish and takes 21st overall in stage 2.

Stage 2 – Le Neubourg›Pavilly (138.4km):
It was a bit of a hectic start to this stage. Chloe was suffering crash injuries from the previous day’s ITT. The weather conditions toyed with the peloton in the opening circuits. The rain affected the race in terms of crashes and mechanicals, while the wind made the peloton nervous to know if Lidl/Trek and Visma would try to split the peloton. Before the final circuit, our team worked to protect Lauren and Fiona. Fiona was given the green light to attack before the finish but just missed out on the winning move of the day. Lauren positioned herself for the final sprint and took 7th the stage. Emilie suffered a heavy crash, but managed to finish the race. Results: Lauren, 7th; Fiona 21st.

Stage 3 – Coutances›Martinvast (136.8km):
The Stage 3 course was up and down again with 1693m (5554′) of climbing. Chloe couldn’t start the day, Pauline was feeling ill with a cold, and Emilie would see how her body felt after the crash. Wind was again in the forecast which could affect the race, and the final circuit would be decisive for the GC. The team kept Lauren safe all day until she went on the attack between 5-10 km before the final circuits. She was with only one FDJ rider as they entered the circuits, but Lauren dropped her on the first long climb. The technical circuit with wind and rain made it difficult for what was left of the peloton behind to chase. Lauren was super strong on the day and won the stage with a sizable gap. She gained a lot of time back on the GC over Van Dijk and Markus. Greta and Fiona were super on the day, always protecting Lauren and around for support. Results: Lauren 1st!

Stage 4 – Villers-Bocage›Caen (138.5km):
With Lauren sitting 4th in the GC, we were going for the podium in the final stage. This was the most difficult parcours of the tour. Only Greta, Fiona, and Lauren remained to start but prepared for a tricky day. Greta’s job was to protect for the first 60k before the road really started climbing. Fiona had the objective of getting over the second GPM of the day with Lauren’s group. Greta and Fiona executed their jobs perfectly. Unfortunately, we got caught out by DSM and Uno-X on this stage. Their two GC riders made it into a twenty-rider move only 15 kms into the stage. Our team gambled that Lidl/Trek, Cofidis, and Visma would chase, but they left it too late. Lauren positioned herself very well on the three laps of the final city circuit. These laps were essentially a criterium. She finished with another top 10 on the stage and a top 10 on GC. Really solid teamwork by everyone to get us a top 10 on GC and a stage win at a high-level European 2.1. Positive signs for the rest of the season. Results: Lauren 9th in the stage, 6th in the GC, 3rd in points classification.