Lauretta Hanson, 23, is relishing the opportunity to compete against many of the world's best at the 2018 Santos Women's Tour. A trip to the podium on the opening stage is just the start of things for Hanson and the UniSA-Australia Team, which looks to animate the four-stage race.
"Obviously, it would have been nice to be further up on the podium but I'm still super happy to be on the podium with the calibre of Nettie Edmondson and Giorgia Bronzini, so I'm super happy with that result," a delighted Hanson said after her trip to the podium.
Hanson, who usually rides for the US-based UnitedHealthcare team, was a late call up to the team courtesy of an eighth-place finish at the Australian Road National Championships on Sunday.
"There were quite a few girls who were chasing the last spot on the UniSA Team and we have an incredibly strong team and I am really honoured to be in that final spot, and super happy to reward them all with third place," Hanson continued.
The 2018 season sees Hanson enter her third year in the professional peloton, and she is looking to gain as much experience as she can from the star-studded roster of Katrin Garfoot, Shara Gillow, Lauren Kitchen, Tiffany Cromwell and Rachel Neylan.
Riding together for the first time on the opening stage, Hanson was pleased with how the team came together and was able to pull off the result thanks to an excellent lead out from Cromwell.
"Tiff has a huge amount of experience in leading out and being in the thick of it in the sprints and I'm really excited to work with her," said Hanson.
"She dropped me off perfectly and it would have been nice to have one more rider in there but, as our first time riding together, I think we got a really good result. I can't thank them enough for supporting me today and giving me the opportunity to go for a podium."
The UniSA Australia Team were the main aggressors of the stage with Neylan attacking over the top of the Queen of the Mountain and threatening to ride away with not just the stage win but potentially the overall classification as well.
A long time supporter of the men's team in the WorldTour Santos Tour Down Under, UniSA has stepped up in supporting a women's team in 2018 and Hanson is looking to continue to repay their support.
"We want to represent our sponsor UniSA, they have done a fantastic job to support a women's team and we want to repay them and race well and to get the name out there," Hanson added of the aggressive racing by the team.
The Santos Women's Tour continues on Friday with a 102-kiometre stage from Lyndoch to Mengler's Hill. Hanson currently sits third in the overall classification, eight seconds back on the stage 1 winner Annette Edmondson.