Lauren Kitchen is one of Australia?s top road cyclists, but we don?t get to see a great deal of her racing, with the majority of her racing overseas. When she does ride in Australia it has been as an outnumbered solo entrant in recent years, but with the UCI classification of the Santos Women?s Tour and Cadel Evan?s race, Australian racing fans will get to see Kitchen compete with her Norwegian based Hitech team. Lauren Kitchen sat down with Peloton Caf? in the middle of the Santos Women?s Tour, where she finished 3rd overall,
Peloton Cafe: How did you come to be on a Norwegian team in Hitec Products?
Lauren Kitchen: Well I just talked to the director Karl, and they wanted me to join the team three years ago now. I really enjoy being with a Scandanavian team, it?s quite an international team, they give me a lot of opportunities and they also support me really well, like coming all the way out to Australia for the Tour Down Under.?
PC: Is it a different culture coming from an Australian context to a Norwegian team?
LK: I really enjoy the Norwegian flavour of the team and being with the girls, I really like getting to see different places I wouldn?t get to see if I was with an Australian team.
PC: Your 2015 season was very successful, would you say that it was your best so far?
LK: 2015 was a really great season for me, and I hope that I can continue building on that for this year, and it would be great to continue with my good results here, to thank the team for coming out and supporting me here.
PC: If you had to pick one result that people would remember you from your results to date, what would it be?
LK: I think the biggest result for me was when I won the Ronde van Overijssel in the Netherlands last year, but winning the Oceania title was definitely big as well. My ride at the World Championships as well, even though I didn?t come away with a result, being out there at the front of the race until finale and being on TV around the world was a good performance.
PC: You?ve been a professional cyclist for some years now, starting off with the Jayco World Academy team and have gone through a few teams since then. How have you developed through your career?
LK: It?s changed a lot over the years, but I?m really happy with the pathway I?ve chosen, having a few years with the Australian national team then moving into Rabobank, Wiggle Honda and now Hitech, and I think I?ve found where I?m happy. You can get a good balance of opportunity and also racing at the top level with some of the most experienced riders in the peloton like Tatiana Guderzo, it?s really good having teammates like Tati to help me progress.?
PC: And for this season, it will be the first season of the Women?s World Tour, how optimistic are the peloton about how that will be implemented and raise the profile of women?s cycling?
LK: It?s really exciting having the World Tour and more races that will be televised, that?s going to be the main thing for us. It will be more competitive with more teams being more professional and hopefully more sponsors come to women?s cycling with the increased coverage. We?re looking forward to it, and I hope to be able to target those races in the spring.?
PC: How do you find coming to race a lot of the races in Australia as an individual, here (at the Santos Women?s Tour) you?ve got the luxury of a team to help, but normally you?re a lone rider going up against Orica-AIS.
LK: It was very difficult racing the Nationals alone, Orica-AIS have 7 professional riders, not just an NRS team racing against the pros. It was challenging, but you can only do what you can on the day. It comes down to a bit of luck when you?re in my situation, unfortunately this year I didn?t have that. It?s great to have my team here today, but still Orica are very strong, they?ve all been out here training, whereas all the other international teams have just flown in for the race.
PC: What?s the first thing you do when you come back to Australia?
LK: I really love going to the beach in Australia, as it?s something we don?t really get in Europe, and the caf? culture here, being able to have breakfasts and catch up with people.
Kitchen and Hitech Products will next be competing in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on January 30th.
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