Championships, crashes, and cycling: Australian cyclist Lauretta Hanson chats new doco series Second To None

After a disappointing debut in the 2022 Tour De France Femmes, the Lidl-Trek team are back for redemption. Made over two years, with a combination of observational footage, archives and master interviews, Second to None is a dramatic three-part documentary series follows up-close a team of elite female cyclists as they train, race, fall, hope and triumph in a world traditionally dominated by their male counterparts. With a backstage pass to some of the team’s top riders and their formidable leader, we ride the rollercoaster of emotions of elite cycling and witness the reality of the women’s World Tour.

SECOND TO NONE follows Lidl-Trek as they endeavour to overcome their physical and emotional challenges, lean on one another, and try to make a place for themselves on the podium. As episode 1 of this documentary series releases exclusively on DocPlay, Nick L’Barrow spoke with Lidl-Trek cyclist Lauretta Hanson about crashes, team bonding, and the mentality of becoming a champion.

Nick: It’s a pleasure to meet, Lauretta! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat.

Lauretta Hanson: No, of course! No problem at all!

Nick: I binged all three episodes of Second to None. I was hooked!

Lauretta Hanson: So did I! It was great.

Nick: It’s so rare that my love of sport and film interviews combine, so I’m excited to chat with you. And want to kick off at the beginning of your own journey. When did cycling first come into your life, and what did the journey look like to get where you are today?

Lauretta Hanson: Cycling has always been a part of my life, really. Like, I started cycling at my local club when I was eight years old, and then raced kind of at a junior level domestically within Australia. Then that progressed to international racing in America!

I raced for a collegiate team for a year, and then raced for American professional teams through the early part of my career. Then in 2019, I joined Trek-Segafredo, which is now Lidl-Trek, and I’ve been in Europe ever since then.

So now, I’m in my sixth year as a European professional. Cycling has always been a big part of my life, and I love it! It gives me the opportunity to explore the world. I really love what I do.

Nick: I think Second to None really shows that love you and the team have this sport. But you’re also racing at a truly elite level of cycling, which obviously requires an insane level of physicality and sacrifice. But I’m curious to know, and I don’t know if this is a big or broad question, whether you can put into words what mindset it takes to want to be a champion, but as a team?

Lauretta Hanson: Yeah, I mean I think this series does a really great job of showing the human side of the sport, which is something we miss a lot. And it does a great job of showing the story of the entire team and how much work goes into achieving goals as a team, not just as an individual.

In cycling, quite often we see only one person standing on the podium. But there’s a whole lot of work that goes on behind the scenes, from the staff and the riders. Like you said, it’s a mindset of not just the individual standing on the podium, but of the entire team.

We all go into the race wanting to contribute to a great team result, so I guess in that confidence as a team, we build each other up. Like the Tour de France last year, we went in with the goal of a stage win, and hopefully getting Elisa Longo Borghini onto the podium. Unfortunately, we missed both of those goals, but that confidence in each other helped us to achieve our best and work together as a strong, cohesive unit.

You know, we’re all professionals. I’ve been a professional for eight years. A lot of my teammates have been professionals for, I don’t know, 12 years or more, some of them. I guess that experience it something that creates a great team. Unfortunately, it didn’t lead to results, but it’s something that just develops over time and working with strong professionals.

Nick: We’ve mentioned the human side that Second to None looks at throughout the series, which made me think a lot more about some of the shows big moments. You have a crash during Stage 2. Elisa Balsamo crashes at one point, along with many other events. What goes through your mind on a personal level in those moments, outside of what you need to do during the race?

Lauretta Hanson: Yeah, it is quite challenging. It has a big impact on our goals professionally as a team, and our wants and desire for results. But we are also human. Crashes hurt.

Elisa Balsamo had gone through quite a challenging time recovering from her crashes, and being a teammate, you see her get on the bus after a race, and see how tired she is, the emotions she’s going through. You don’t always see that from the outside. I think that’s something that Second to None did a really good job of showing.

When Eliza Longo Borghini had to pull out, as a cyclist, it’s hard to see our leader go, but we have a job to do. As a teammate and a friend, it’s even harder to see the emotional turmoil she’s going through, knowing that one of her biggest goals in the season is now gone. It’s really quiet tough.

Nick: And then there was your own crash on top of all of that. But seeing you slide on the wet road, then just get back up, take a new bike, and continue the race, was incredible. What was going through your mind in that moment?

Lauretta Hanson: I mean, of course it’s not an ideal situation to slide along the road with 10 kilometres going into the final stage! Fortunately, most of my role had been finished at that point, but it’s not an ideal situation.

In that moment, there’s so much adrenaline running through you that you don’t recognise how much pain you’re in until you cross the finish line. I guess the fortunate thing about it being wet is that I mostly slid, so I didn’t really have too many injuries, which was a good thing!

I had 5 or 10 kilometres, a little slog home [laughs], to lick my wounds and commiserate! In that moment, its adrenaline, it’s instinct. You pick yourself up, make sure you’re not too injured, grab another bike, get a push, and just keep going! And that’s kind of how it is.

Unfortunately, crashes are an assumed risk of racing, and I’ve been in that situation before, and instinct just kicks in, and you keep going. Then when you get to the finish line, then you can assess the damage. Fortunately, I wasn’t too injured, and I was able to continue on and keep racing.

Nick: You mentioned in an earlier answer about the importance of your crew, and there’s a great moment in episode three that highlights those people behind the scenes who make this all possible for you. How integral are the crew to the team’s overall success?

Lauretta Hanson: It’s really great that the show had everyone behind the scenes, who play a role in the team and in the athlete’s lives. And like, seeing Eliza’s family and the people who support her. They’re obviously a huge part of her life and her career. They inspire and motivate her.

The show looking at our personal lives and then also the staff and everyone behind the scenes who make these great champions possible, it was really nice to have them highlighted and recognised in the show. It’s really important to see the people behind the champions.

Nick: One thing Second to None also highlighted was the fact that cycling is a team sport, but in the sense that individual efforts lead to a team result. Do you ever find that difficult to explain to people who may not understand cycling and all of it’s nuances?

Lauretta Hanson: It’s really challenging to explain to people that cycling is a team sport! Even though only one person will stand on the podium, it’s through the work of a lot of individuals that, like you said, get the team result. It’s rare that I’m on the podium, but a lot of the time, my work helps achieve results, and explaining that to people is a struggle.

Going into a stage, we always have a meeting which then decides who does what role throughout the day, to make sure that everyone can maximise their effort and effectiveness of each rider.

So, in the sprint stage on day 3, Ilaria Sanguineti was the key lead out for Elisa Balsamo. So, while we’re protecting Elisa to make sure she has the easiest ride of the day and doesn’t touch the wind, it’s important to make sure we’re taking care of Ilaria as well, because she needs to be to give her maximum effort in those last kilometres as well!

It really comes down to deciding how we’re going to save everyone’s legs and use each rider to their best ability to make sure we come up with a great team result. And that comes down to our director, Ina Teutenberg.

Nick: I’m so glad your brought up your coach, Ina Teutenberg, because she is fantastic in this documentary. She is such a large personality on screen, at one point she self-confesses that she’s a “bitch”, but she also brings such a wealth of cycling knowledge and experience to the team. What is one aspect of Ina’s coaching style that really resonates with you?

Lauretta Hanson: I’ve been very fortunate to work with Ina Teutenberg! Like she says herself… she can be a bitch at times! But it’s with the intention of getting the best out of her riders. And she does a great job of achieving that.

She sees the potential in you that you might not always see and finds a way to help you get the most out of yourself. So, I’ve certainly learned a lot from Ina in my six years at Lidl-Trek. She’s a very smart bike racer. She had a very illustrious career herself. She really understands racing and also the mindset of an athlete, and I think that’s really an asset to the team and the role she plays with in the team.

Nick: And your journey with Ina and Lidl-Trek continues now you’ve signed on through to the 2025 season. What are you most excited for in the coming year for the team and yourself?

Lauretta Hanson: Yeah, I’ve been a part of the team since the beginning, and it’s really been exciting to kind of follow the progress and development of the team. We’ve bonded as a team and achieved some great results together!

Our goal is to be the number one team in the world! So, I’m excited to be a part of that and sort of play my part in achieving that goal as a team. I’m really looking forward to the next season, and hopefully a few more seasons ahead!

Thank you so much to Lauretta Hanson for her time, and to NixCo PR and DocPlay for organsing the chat! The first episode of Second to None is now streaming, exclusively on DocPlay. Episode 2 will be available on June 24, and episode 3 on July 1.

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Nick L'Barrow
Nick L'Barrow
Nick is a Brisbane-based film/TV reviewer. He gained his following starting with his 60 second video reviews of all the latest releases on Instagram (@nicksflicksfix), before launching a monthly podcast with Peter Gray called Monthly Movie Marathon. Nick contributes to Novastream with interviews and reviews for the latest blockbusters.

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