Lauren Kitchen is looking to bring her strong early season form into the Santos Women's Tour as she competes as part of the Roxsolt women’s team from January 17-20.
Kitchen placed third in the national criterium earlier this month and will line up in the Adelaide event with teammates Tiffany Cromwell, Loren Rowney, Carlee Tayler and Great Britain’s Lucy Martin. Kitchen is a professional rider for Hi-Tech through most of the road season but along with the rest of the Roxsolt team has been granted dispensation to ride the Santos Women’s Tour.
“Personally I’m feeling good. I’m coming off Bay Crits and Nationals, after which I had some easy days before starting to build back up in the last couple of days. I’m looking to have a good race and I think that it will be a really good weekend,” she told Cyclingnews.
“There’s a lot of teams entered but our Roxsolt team are pretty motivated. It’s been put together by Kelvin Rundle. We have five pro riders from different teams and we all race together during this and the rest of the summer. Kelvin basically gives us to chance to support the Australian races, which I think is really important, otherwise we probably wouldn’t have the opportunity to race some of these events.”
The Women’s Tour is comprised of four stages, two of which – stage2 and 4 – are criteriums, with stages 1 and 3 road races that feature climbs.
“Coming into the criteriums I hope to be in the mix with the sprinters but I think we’ve got a few cards to play in our team,” Kitchen said. “It’s exciting that Kelvin has been able to put together such an exciting team from different other squads and that we race at such short notice and then try and pull off results. It is credit to him and his Roxsolt programme to pull us together and it also helps us all prepare for the European season.”
The event forms part of Cycling Australia’s Subaru National Road Series and a progression of the Santos Women’s Cup. The new format runs alongside the men’s Santos Tour Down Under and Kitchen believes that women’s racing is on the up in her homeland.
“It’s really exciting because I think this is the first year that this race is fully affiliated with the men’s Tour Down Under, which is an exciting prospect for the women’s race. We also have some TV coverage as well.”