US national road champion Lauren Stephens staked her claim on another grueling gravel race in Lincoln, Nebraska yesterday, winning Gravel Worlds 75-mile “Privateer” non-championship category outright.
Stephens opted for the shorter distance to taper for the upcoming Joe Martin Stage Race, starting next Thursday (August 22) in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
“My goal today was to win (beat all the boys),” Stephens said. “Early in the race, I got into a two-person break with a guy named Ross. He was much bigger than me, so I knew my best chance was to get away late on a hill. I definitely didn’t want to sprint him. I tried with about 20km to go. I got a decent gap, but then the course turned back into a headwind, and he was able to chase me down. With a few km to go, I attacked again and was barely able to hold him off to the finish. We had a great, competitive race.”
Stephens finished just three seconds ahead of Ross Weinzierl with a blisteringly quick time of 3:55:55 over 75 challenging miles of paved, fire road, and singletrack trails.