Olympic debut for Hanson

Lauretta Hanson has been selected to the Australian Olympic cycling team.

Lauretta Hanson will make her Olympic debut in Paris next month.

The 29-year-old from Fern Hill will compete in the women’s road cycling event on August 4, alongside teammates Grace Brown and Ruby Roseman-Gannon.

Hanson told the Express she felt “absolutely honoured” to represent Australia at the Olympic Games.

“Cycling has been my passion since I was junior and it has given me so much in life,” she said.

“I have many friends and have been able to travel the world through my sport, but when I first started at the Kyneton Velodrome, I never thought it would lead me to where I am now.

“I never imagined that I’d make it to a professional level, let alone the Olympics.

“It’s incredibly humbling to look back on my career, the journey it took to get here and all of those that have helped along the way.”

The Olympics falls after the Giro D’Italia, which is an eight-day tour and one of the bigger races on the women’s calendar.

Hanson said she was currently focused on the tour and had had a month of good training as preparation.

“I really like racing the Giro, but it will also give me a good block of racing and intensity heading into the Olympics,” she said.

“I have three weeks between the Giro and the Olympics so I will have a few days of rest after Giro, then some days of targeted training before joining the Australian team in Paris.”

Hanson is not a high-profile member of the Australian cycling team, but out on the road she is among the most important.

An established member of the UCI Women’s WorldTeam Lidl-Trek team, Hanson has built a reputation as a strong, unwavering support rider, a ‘domestique’, who works tirelessly to ensure other riders win.

High-profile Lidl-Trek rider Ellen van Dijk has made it clear her success depends on the support of Hanson.

“Lauretta is very valuable,” Dutchwoman Ellen said. “She is always where she needs to be. She does what she needs to do and is super strong.”

Hanson is more than comfortable in her support role, chasing down breakaways and helping to haul team leaders to the front of the race.

“As a domestique I love helping my teammates to achieve the best results possible,” she said.

“Other women told me there isn’t a place in women’s pro cycling for a professional domestique and historically in women’s cycling you never got a contract if you weren’t a winner. But now teams see more and more they need dedicated riders to help other wins.

I enjoy helping others win as much as myself.”

Hanson grew up on a farm in Fern Hill, riding bikes around bush tracks.

She joined a club when she was eight, following the example of her mum Heather, who had been an elite cyclist in the 1970s and 80s.

As an 18-year-old, Hanson landed a scholarship to a college in Tennessee and ended up signing with a professional team and racing in the United States and Canada for six years.

In 2019, she made the switch to Europe, signing with Trek-Segafredo and playing an instrumental role in many of their successes as a domestique.

Hanson was part of the Australian team that competed in the road race at the 2023 world championships in Glasgow.

She also made her debut at the Tour de France Femmes last year racing with the Lidl-Trek team.