"I'm excited to return to Team Tibco-SVB," Stephens said in a press release. "I've had a difficult year battling with injury after a high-speed crash during the final stage at the Tour Down Under. I've taken an early off-season this year so that I can come back at 100 per cent for 2019."
Stephens competed for the team for five seasons between 2013 and 2017, securing top results that included victories at the Chrono Gatineau and Winston Salem Cycling Classic, and a stage win at the Internationale Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour.
She raced for Cylance Pro Cycling in 2018, where she was second in a stage at the Santos Women's Tour Down Under and finished second overall, and second at the Pan-American Championships in the time trial.
"We are very happy to welcome Lauren back to our team," said Linda Jackson, the founder of Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank. "Our team is continuing to grow and expand our programme to focus on the UCI WorldTour events. As one of the top-ranked UCI WorldTour teams in the United States, we're continuing to build our programme to focus even more on the international racing calendar while maintaining a strong presence in North America. It's wonderful to have Lauren back on the team; her talents and leadership will be a strong addition to our 2019 roster."
Her other top results include winning the individual time trial at the Tour Féminin de San Luis (2016 and 2017), and stage victories at the Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l'Ardèche (2017, 2015) and the Tour of the Gila (2015).
Tibco-SVB will be announcing their entire roster at the end of September.
D'hoore leads Mitchelton-Scott at Madrid Challenge
Jolien D’hoore will lead the Mitchelton-Scott team at the penultimate round of the Women’s WorldTour, the Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta. The Spanish race is in its fourth year and D’hoore has won the sprint finish in the last two editions.
Backing D’hoore will be a strong line-up that includes Jessica Allen, Gracie Elvin, Alexandra Manly, Sarah Roy and Georgia Williams.
If D’hoore wants to defend her title, she will face a very different test compared to the past two seasons with the race extending to two days. Day one will see the riders take on a team time trial, which is likely to define the overall classification. Day two brings the peloton into the centre of Madrid where the usual circuit has been replaced by and up and back route down the famous Paseo del Prado. The race is a chance for D’hoore to get a win on the board and for Mitchelton-Scott to hone their team time trial ahead of the World Championships.
“This year the course is a bit different. It’s flat and only two corners in one lap so it’s even more of a criterium now. I just need to focus myself on my final sprint like I did in the two previous years.
“The day before is a good test to see where we stand in the TTT, we will have some strong legs out there. It’s quite short but that makes it even harder. Hopefully, we can gain some confidence after our ride before heading to Innsbruck.”
Mitchelton-Scott for the Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta: Jessica Allen, Jolien D´hoore, Gracie Elvin, Alexandra Manly, Sarah Roy, Georgia Williams.
Strong line-up for new women's race - Lake Garda Classic
The elite women's calendar sees the addition of a new women's race this month. The Lake Garda Classic will be held on Tuesday, September 18 in Arco, Trento, Italy, and it will be officially presented on Thursday, September 13 in Trento.
Organisers have already announced the participation of mountain bike star Jolanda Neff, who will lead the Swiss national team, and top Italian road racers Elisa Longo Borghini and Marta Bastianelli, who will race for the Italian national team.
Last June, Neff faced the Swiss Road National Championships, claiming the title ahead of Sina Frei and Nicole Hanselmann, who will also be racing.
"It was a challenging season for Jolanda and Sina, but very satisfying from a mountain-bike perspective," said Swiss national team coach Edi Telser.
"Now, we'll try to close the road season in style. The Lake Garda Classic is the ideal warm-up in view of the upcoming UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck, and we're a good team, so we want to make a good impression."
A national team from Russia will also participate in the new race with four athletes: Ksenia Tsymbaliyk, Diana Klimova, Sofya Chirkova and Aleksandra Stepanova.
Soet and Badegruber extend with WNT-Rotor
Badegruber has spent the last two seasons with the team, and is thrilled to be staying for another season.
"I'm really happy and grateful to get the opportunity to stay with the team for another year in 2019, and am looking forward to this new adventure," she said.
"After this season, which was overshadowed by a lot of crashes, I'm hoping to succeed and make a step forward in my cycling career."
Dutchwoman Soet won the U23 time trial event at the European championships in Glasgow in July, and followed it up with a silver medal in the road race two days later.
The 20-year-old also won a stage of the Healthy Ageing Tour in April, and won the best young rider competition at the Emakumeen Bira stage race in May.
"I'm very excited to extend my contract with WNT-Rotor," said Soet. "This year was a very good one for me, and I'm sure that I can continue developing myself whilst under the guidance of the team, especially with the big names who they have signed in these last few weeks. I'm already looking forward to next season."
The team have already announced that four-time track world champion Kirsten Wild will also join the team in 2019 from Wiggle High5.