Optum Pro Cycling’s Lauren Hall, racing for the US National team, attacked her breakaway companions inside the final kilometer to claim a thrilling sprint victory at the third edition of Gent-Wevelgem Women in Belgium. After showing her stripes in the UCI-ranked event, she shared insight into arguably the biggest accomplishment of her stellar career.
We had only been in Europe for two days and we expected to use this race as a way of getting the legs going again, getting over jet lag, and getting used to the larger European peloton. I was feeling good and the weather was warm, unusual for this time of year, and I think that really helped me get over the jet lag faster. So there was no pressure in the race whatsoever, but I had put pressure on myself all winter to do well at some point during this spring block – to start off with a win, it feels like a weight lifted off my shoulders.
The Kemmelberg, a selective, cobbled climb, was a defining point in the race. Each time we crested the top I was in the top 5, so I knew my legs were good and the race was going to go well. It wasn’t until the break was established and within 20k to the finish that I really started thinking about a win. Once within the last kilometer, I put in the one final effort I needed to, when it counted most, and I had time to take it all in.
It’s an honor to win a race of this magnitude, while representing the US National team and Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies.