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Lauren Stephens pedals into the unknown at Unbound Gravel 200

Lauren Stephens pedals into the unknown at Unbound Gravel 200

Don’t miss a moment from Paris-Roubaix and Unbound Gravel, to the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and everything in between when you…

Saturday, Jun 04

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EMPORIA, Kansas (VN) — Lauren Stephens always knew she’d compete in Unbound Gravel’s 200-mile race .

She just didn’t think it would be this year.

Stephens, the two-time reigning champion of Unbound Gravel’s 100-mile race and reigning U.S. road champion, was expecting to once again defend her title in 2022 in the mid-distance race. A few weeks ago, however, Stephens learned that her EF Education-TIBCO-SVB team had signed her up to compete in the 200-mile race instead.

“It’s an event I’ve always said I’d do, I just expected to do it after I retired from full-time road racing,” Stephens told VeloNews. “So it’s coming premature for me. But that’s alright with me.”

Stephens doesn’t know how her body will respond to 200 miles of racing across Kansas’ unforgiving flint hills against a field stacked with women’s talent. The longest she’s ever raced her bicycle was at SBT GRVL, which boasts a 145-mile course. She’s never ridden 200 miles straight in training.

“This is going to be my longest day on a bike by far,” she says, “For both time and distance.” Also read: Plus, so far in 2022, she has trained almost exclusively for shorter pro road events. She completed a European bloc of racing in the spring that culminated with the Ardennes classics. Then, she returned to the United States to race the Joe Martin Stage […]

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