LAUREN Kitchen is headed for the Ardennes week – a triple classics week in both Belgium and the Netherlands.
While a full Ardennes week has been enjoyed by the men’s peloton for a number of years, this will be the first time the women will experience both the Amstel Gold Race and Liege - Bastonge - Liege.
These two races are split by the famous La Flèche Wallone that has already been a centrepiece of the Spring campaign for a number of years.
Kitchen knows it will be a challenge, but it’s one she’s looking forward to.
“They will be hard for sure but we have a really strong team and I think we can do something a bit special here,” she said.
Kitchen will be joined by both Marianne Vos and Kasia Niewiadoma who both have a next to flawless history when racing on the famous Caulberg.
In 2012 Vos took the rainbow jersey of world champion there and Niewiadoma won the last stage of the Holland ladies tour there last year.
“Both Marianne and Kasia are very suited to this style of racing,” Kitchen said.
“I think that if they are both firing on all cylinders we will be the team to watch for the week. I also see this as a great opportunity for myself to step up and be there at the critical moments for the girls but also for myself.”
With a rough run of bad luck now behind and a good two weeks of training in the legs, the 26-year-old is refreshed and ready to fight for that elusive victory at some of the biggest races of the year.
“It will be special to do these races for the first time,” Kitchen said.
“I’m excited about that, but I really want to take the positive feelings away and it would be great if we could win one or two of them.”