British National Championships
Team WNT Pro Cycling success continues throughout National Championship week taking 7 medals across 4 countries.
The British National Road Race Championships took place on the Isle of Man. Consisting of 1 lap of the famous Isle of Man TT Circuit (37.5 miles) before completing 6 laps of a 4.5mile finishing circuit with the start/finish line at the Grandstand of the TT. Total race distance of 64.45 miles/103.73km.
Rolling out of the Grandstand at 9am it was an aggressive start to the race, with all at Team WNT Pro Cycling doing their best to be cover the moves, Emily Kay made a breakaway attempt with two other riders, but was brought back, and Keira McVitty then went solo with a gap of around 10 seconds. Unfortunately, with the remaining KMs and a fresh bunch of riders chasing, Keira was brought back. Eventually the first main break of the day distanced itself from the peloton, Hannah Walker attacked with Lucy Shaw (Drops) and Chanel Mason (Storey) they gained a 20 second gap before Manon Lloyd (Team Breeze) joined them. The gap grew to a maximum of 1.55 minutes with all 4 riders working well together. The four put on the pressure as they started the mountain climb out of Ramsey, the group splintered with Lloyd pushing on solo after the gooseneck corner.
Behind the favourites began to come to the fore with Anna Christian and Elinor Barker breaking away from the group of favourites, Hayley Simmonds made the main selection including Hannah Barnes and Lizzie Deignan. Hannah Walker was caught by the main favourites group and hung on for one kilometre but was distanced over the top. In arrears Katie Archibald was chasing solo and made a gallant effort to bridge across to the front group. After the mountain descent Lloyd, Barker and Christian were together out front with a gap back to the chasing group including Archibald and Simmonds. With 6 laps of the finishing circuit to complete it would be a long way to the finish for the 3 rider group out front. Barker chose to pile on the pressure and pushed on solo, attacks were aplenty behind in the following group with Simmonds and Archibald following the moves on the tough finishing circuit, going into the final laps with Barker still solo Deignan attacked quickly followed by Barnes and Archibald, the chasing three bridged to Barker, but with the experienced Deignan up front and knowing the finishing strength of Archibald she took her chance to go solo. Archibald and Barnes tried hard to chase.
Deignan would solo to the win but it was Archibald’s strong sprint that secured Team WNT Pro Cycling’s and Katie’s 2nd medal of this week’s British National Championships, 14seconds behind the winner. Simmonds finished in the next group securing 8th place 1.28 mins down. 8 minutes later the main peloton of the race finished at the Grandstand with Natalie Grinczer 5th in the bunch sprint securing a 14th place and Hayley Jones close behind finishing 7th Under 23 along with Becca Carter and Hannah Walker finishing in the main peloton after a tough but rewarding day’s racing on the Isle of Man.
Earlier in the week Hayley Jones, Katie Archibald, Hayley Simmonds, Emily Kay, Gaby Shaw and Natalie Grinczer pulled on their Craft Team WNT Pro Cycling skinsuits to compete in the National Time Trial Championships. A tough circuit awaited the team and Archibald used her strength to win bronze with a great ride. Two-time former champion Simmonds narrowly missed a medal finishing in fourth, only four seconds behind Archibald. Jones rode impressively earlier in the day finishing fifth under-23. Grinczer, Kay and Shaw all had strong rides finishing 19th, 33rd and 39th respectively.
Lydia Boylan does the hat-trick
Lydia Boylan and Josie Knight represented Team WNT Pro Cycling as Wexford played host to this years Irish Road Race Championships. 5 laps of a 18.5km circuit with only one definining feature of a short, sharp and steep climb with around 5km to go every lap. With not much wind the race struggled to break apart throughout the with only one major move of 6 riders holding a small advantage for a short time. With the final lap Knight and Boylan teamed up and Josie helped set up a fantastically timed attack for Boylan on the climb 5km away from the finish. Boylan used her track pedigree to then solo the final 4km for a fantastic win which sees her keep her Irish Road Race Champions jersey firmly on her shoulders for the 3rd year in a row. Speaking to Lydia after the race she had this to say; “It was a nerve wracking last four kilometres, I was convinced I was going to be caught, but I could see the chasing pack weren’t gaining so I put my head down and fully committed. I couldn’t have done it without Josie there to put me in the right position before the bottom of the climb so I could time my attack to perfection.” Three wins on the trot from Boylan now and in different fashion this year with a solo win.
Earlier on in the week Josie Knight competed in the Time Trial Championships, adding another National Jersey to that now rather large and growing wardrobe after winning the Under 23 title. Speaking afterwards Knight said, “I was happy with my ride felt I'd given it my best shot on the day, it was a pretty long course, longer than I'm used too so I would've like to have placed better overall but super happy with u23 title.“
All in all a successful week of racing for Team WNT Pro Cycling at the Irish Road and Time Trial Championships and we are sure Boylan and Knight will do their jersey’s proud in the year ahead!
Golden Anna and two superb silver's
The Luxembourg Road Race Championships took place on a hilly course with 4 laps of a 19.5km circuit. The field would have to tackle over 1000m of climbing and with high winds on the day the race soon splintered into small groups, at the front of affairs was Elise Maes and Christine Majerus (Boels Dolmans) after the main climb on the circuit. They continued with their effort together until in the final 30km Majerus attacked Maes and soloed to victory to win another title, Maes rode brilliantly after being away for nearly the whole race and hung on to claim a fantastic silver medal behind winner Majerus. It was a similar story in the Time Trial Championships with Maes finishing in silver spot again only 19 seconds behind Majerus, another great ride which makes a very successful Luxembourg Championships for Maes and Team WNT Pro Cycling.
In Austria, Team WNT Pro Cycling were represented by the young 20-year-old Anna Badegruber. After completing her final exams for the year, the Time Trial was her main aim of the week and she sure delivered, winning the Under-23 title in fine style and finishing 12th overall in the senior women’s. Bradegruber was of course happy with the result; “I am really happy and speechless to have won the under 23 title, I didn’t expect that. I thought I was in good shape and I’ve worked hard after my final exams, this title means a lot to me. I am really thankful for all the support from my family, my trainer and Team WNT Pro Cycling”. Commented Bradegruber after the race.
The National Championship week is done and dusted, a successful week across Europe with Team WNT Pro Cycling winning three National Titles and four more medals. The team will hopefully continue this success into July where we will be competing in the Tour de Feminin (Czech Republic), then onto Thüringen Lotto Ladies Tour (Germany).