Lauren Stephens wins USA gravel national title

Stephens earns a spot at the UCI Gravel World Championships

September 9, 2023

Lauren Stephens won the inaugural USA gravel national championship in Gering, Nebraska today.

She has raced a strong road season this year, winning the general classification at the Joe Martin Stage Race along with taking a stage and the Queen of the Mountains jersey, in addition to earning a silver medal in the time trial national championships. Most recently, Lauren raced the World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland where she was the top American female finisher. Working toward these results on the road, however, had left her with little time for gravel riding. Though she knew this was a disadvantage, Lauren also believed in her abilities.

“I had no idea what would happen. I haven’t been racing much gravel so I don’t know many of the girls but it was an awesome race,” Lauren said.

Around the halfway point, Lauren was in the lead group with three other riders. She knew she was a marked rider but didn’t let that worry her. When the inevitable attacks came, she remained calm and countered, ultimately shedding the competition one by one.

“It feels freaking amazing!” Lauren said of her victory. “Having our own start was pretty cool, too.”

The 131.4-mile course featured 90% gravel roads and nearly 5,600 feet of elevation gain. To prepare, last month Lauren raced the 150 mile Gravel Worlds, a self-described grassroots race also in Nebraska. With a time of 9 hours, 15 minutes, she won by over four minutes.

“I’d never ridden one of these long races so Gravel Worlds over in Lincoln, Nebraska is 150 miles so I thought that’d be a good, you know, checkpoint to make sure I could survive 130. Luckily this was about two and a half hours less.”

With today’s win, she has earned an automatic entry to the UCI Gravel World Championships in Veneto, Italy on October 7.

Congratulations on your win, Lauren! We’ll be cheering for you in Italy!

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