I have re-signed with French registered Women’s World Team, FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope for the 2021 and 2022 seasons. This will bring my time with the team to a five year term, as I began working with the team in 2018.
I believe that within any workplace, team spirit and resilience through tough times are what make a team great and ultimately what will lead a team or workplace to perform. Our team is one of the longest running teams in the women’s peloton and that long term commitment and story is something inspiring to me.
photo : Thomas Maheux
There are a number of reasons to why I have committed to two further seasons with this french squad. The team manager and management really value me as a person and a cyclist and are committed to continuing to develop my role as the road captain but will also allow me to continue to explore my potential as a leader for the hard Spring Classic races. This team is focused on the long term development of the squad as a whole, and have supported me through challenging times as well as fruitful times over the past two and half seasons.
In 2018, my first season with the team, I broke my arm and required plastic surgery on my face after a crash in the Amstel Gold Race. I have never felt more supported by a team than in the month that followed the crash, they never put pressure on me to return to racing quickly and provided access to the best medical advice for an 100% recovery. I went on to take two victories for the team later that season. These victories were a direct result of feeling supported when times were tough for me.
The world is facing an unthinkable situation, something no one planned for, yet our team seems to have taken it in their stride. The team have continued to fully support me and my team mates, I’m sure there has been some stress behind the scenes, yet the leadership from Stephen gives me faith in this team, this project and our future as a squad.
Photo: Laura Fletcher
This squad has a french heart but there is an international vibe, there is the deep french emotion and love of the sport running through the team, yet there is a cool and likeable Scandi influence from the northern European team members, balanced out with the laid back Aussie way to round it all together.
I believe the best is yet to come, for me and for the team.
First appeared on Voxwomen
I have recently been asked twice in the past week; What three things do you wish you had known earlier in your career/life? I didn’t have the answer straight away but having spent a lot of time in the past few weeks focusing on my mentality and what drives me. I have my answer;
1. Stop worrying about what everyone else thinks.This maybe something we hear a lot, focus on you, don’t worry what they say, but seriously this was probably the biggest growth factor in my mindset as an athlete and a human when I realised it didn’t matter what everyone else would think. At the end of the day the person you have to look after and be happy to live with is the person looking back at you in the mirror. The moment you realise this, it can be very freeing. At the end of the day your happiness shouldn’t depend on what others think about you, Your perception of yourself is within your control If you don’t like it then change it. I believe this is linked with self-confidence and this is an area that a lot of us can work on, including myself.
2. Stay curious and ask questions. I guess I am well known for not being afraid to say what I think and to ask questions. There are a lot of people around you as an athlete who have input into your performance or routine, whether that be coaches, trainers, managers, nutritionists, team captains, psychologists, parents and partners. I believe you should always question advice if you are not sure or don’t understand the goal of the advice. Just because one person believes one thing it doesn’t make it correct or right for you, Ask questions, do your own research and don’t take anything at face value if it is important to you. Staying curious is also key for me in my pursuit to always keep learning. I used to think I knew a lot and never really accepted or sought help but over the years, particularly during my cycling career, through overcoming injuries and obstacles, I have realised that I indeed don’t know best a lot of the time and asking and accepting help isn’t a sign of weakness, it can keep you grounded and help you achieve more.
3. Know you purpose and your mission. Maybe the most important piece of advice I would give myself; To always come back to your WHY. Your purpose in life is what gets you out of bed in the morning and your values guide you in everything you do if you realise this or not. Your values are generally a result of your upbringing and what hardships or obstacles you have overcome to be where you are today. Everyone has different values for different reasons and that is a good thing, if we were all the same it would be boring. But you have the power to change your values if you choose. I believe your mission is what you decide to do with your purpose. My mission is to explore my potential in every aspect of life while empowering others to reach their goals. I get a lot out of helping others and seeing them succeed. I like logistics, planning and overseeing situations and I believe this skillset can help others to reach their potential and in turn lead me to discover the best version of Lauren. Knowing what gives you satisfaction in life can be empowering and personally helps to make things clear, every choice or decision I make comes back to this and makes it a lot more simple. Knowing your WHY is important.
If I had known and more importantly believed these pieces of advice when I was 20 years old and just starting out, my career may have been different but I wouldn’t have changed anything if I had the opportunity to. Everyone’s path is different and is shaped by our experiences. I just hope my path right now is leading back to some bikes races soon! Lauren Kitchen
First appeared on Voxwomen
During these challenging times, normal life as we know it has been turned upside down in nearly every aspect with countries being in complete lockdown, shops and businesses closing up or operating under strict rules and regulations and nearly all travel worldwide banned or next to impossible, we are seeing leaders step up, both in a political sense along with business leaders and community leaders. These thoughts made me stop and think about the leaders that have shaped my life and helped make me who I am today.
Pubali Chakravorty-Campbell (the CEO of Human Resource Partners) highlights the opportunity for potential through challenging times; ‘Unpleasant and harsh life experiences.. leave us with so much knowledge’ I believe this means that we grow more through hardships and failures then we do when we have success or no setbacks in our path. Personally I have had some key leaders in my life that have had a lasting effect on who I am today and continue to have an impact through the lessons I have learnt overcoming obstacles in my career as a professional cyclist and as a human.
Some of the key leaders in my life include;
Graham Seers; My first coach, Seersy taught me everything about bike racing, not just how to train, how to read a bike race and how to suffer but also about life, people, food and being accountable. I remember one experience in particular; Mersey Valley Tour 2008. It was a selection race for the U19 Australian Junior World Championships team. I was a favourite for the race and the selection. The race was combined with the Elite women’s category, while separate results were recorded. I remember after the second stage I was leading the U19 category by seven minutes on the GC, essentially I had wrapped up the race with a long breakaway on stage 2 with Carlee Taylor (Elite women). Stage three was another hilly road race and I finished with the main group behind a breakaway of Elite women, winning the U19 GC by seven minutes. Seersy had told me he would wait for me at the finish before going to the feed zone for the U19 men. When I finished the race he was not there. He told me after that he was disappointed that I hadn’t followed the breakaway in the stage as we knew I had the legs to be there, he told me that I showed weakness to my competitors just two weeks before the national title. Even though I won the U19 tour, I don’t remember being proud or happy with this, instead I was disappointed and realised I still had a lot go room to grow, I learnt a lesson and for that I am very thankful to Seersy. Seersy taught me to never give up, don’t show weakness and always race everyone in the race, this applies not just to bike racing but all aspects of life. Seersy always fights for what he believes in, even if others don’t agree with him. Without lessons like this from Seersy I would not be the bike racer or person I am today.
Bradley McGee; NSWIS head coach, Personal Coach 2014-2018 and National Coach 2018- Present day. I have always had a huge amount of respect for Brad, I find his personal accomplishments inspiring. His natural leadership is now steering Cycling Australia’s road program to new heights, evident through the success of the last couple of World Championships results. Brad taught me how to believe in myself, and that I should fight for what I believe in right to the end. Brad inspires those around him to be better, he brings people together with his dynamic and exciting visionary approach to coaching. While these challenging times will indeed requires dynamic approaches, I have no doubt that the women’s road program will come out stronger with Brad taking the lead to support us through this holding pattern.
Tony Thorne and Geoff Freeman; King and Campbell Consultancy. I have completed a Bachelor’s degree in Town Planning. I completed it over eight years via distance education through the University of New England. As part of my degree I completed two blocks of six weeks of work experiences at the King and Campbell consultancy in Port Macquarie. I thoroughly enjoyed my work at King and Campbell during these blocks of work experience and had the opportunity to be exposed to great leaders in the business world in my home community. Tony has a way with words and a presence that is felt, he taught me about my profession and how important it is to make use of those around you. Geoff taught be about how to read people and the situation, he always offered advise and had time for my questions, Both Tony, Geoff along with others at King and Campbell forced me out of my comfort zone and taught me how to problem solve and find a solution with decisiveness, clear communication skills and always with integrity.
Mum, Robbi. My mum has always encouraged me to chase my dreams and always found a way for me to do what I loved. I never realised how many scarifies she made while I was growing up for this mentality to take shape inside me and my brother Nick, a ranking officer of the Australian Army. Mum has taught me that you are in charge of your thoughts and how you react to a situation, but most importantly she taught me that there is always a way if you want something enough. Mum taught me how to work hard and I have learnt how to put in the hard work to achieve a goal from my mum. When I made the Australian Junior Worlds team in 2007 I was required to pay a levy to travel to the World Championships in Mexico. My mum was unable to pay this directly so I sold thousands of Cadbury chocolates over 3-4 months to raise the money, each day at school I would forgo my lunch hour to guilt-trip teachers into buying chocolates so I could follow my dream to represent my country. My mum always found a way, she never gave up when it got hard and this mentality has lead me to a professional cycling career in Europe.
Stephen Delcourt, Team manager FDJ, Stephen has a vision, he is on a journey to grow his professional team to the top level women’s cycling. He works so hard, puts his heart and soul into the team and has inspired me to join the cause. I believe in our team and feel the emotion behind the team. The team means more than just a business transaction or sponsorship opportunity. It provides empowerment and belief to everyone involved. Stephen leads the team, staff, riders and partners and I feel confident he will lead the team successfully through this challenging time.
It is time to step up and lead, whether that is lead your organisation, your friendship group, your family or simply your mental and physical health. Life is changing and in order to survive and flourish we must adapt as a humankind. In order to maintain equilibrium under pressure we need everyone to find the leader inside themselves to help others to be better each day and support each other, to inspire others to do what is best for everyone, to be selfless.
We are facing something that is bigger than just you. Find the leader in you.
Lauren get 2020 underway down under
Lauren has captained her French professional squad through the first professional race of the season at the Tour Down Under in Adelaide last week with the team picking up a solid top ten result in every stage and captivating the race coverage through breakaways and aggressive racing.
Lauren picked up 8th place in stage one in a bunch sprint, however it was her team mate, Brodie Chapman, who animated the race with a strong breakaway in the final 50km, she was only caught with 500m remaining in the stage!
The team continued with this style throughout the race and picked up a further three top ten results over the next three days.
Photo: Laura Fletcher
“It was a great start, the team atmosphere is good, it’s really important to start with this attitude and nature at the start of the season, if we continue to race this way, big results will follow”
Lauren was pleasantly surprised with her level for the first race of the year, being able to follow the moves over the climbs on the selective days.
“Spratt and the Mitchelton girls were at a different level to everyone, along with Winder, who ultimately won the race, but I am really happy with my level at the moment, I exactly where I need to be for January and I’m really trusting the process and happy to see that my preseason work is paying off”
Photo: Laura Fletcher
Lauren is now training in Adelaide until the 27th of January before heading to Geelong for Ride Torquay on Jan 30th and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on February 1. Lauren will the return to France for team presentation on February 8th in Poitiers, France.
“It’s all started again now, but I’m happy to be where I’m at now, I’m seeing a few positive signs and I’m looking forward to the next races in Geelong”