Hard work and team discipline delivered a number of first places and podiums across a variety of disciplines during May and early June for Team WNT Pro Cycling. The key target in May was the Matrix Fitness GP Tour Series and this started well with Katie Archibald taking a hard fought second place in the opening round in Redditch, with the rest of the team pulling together to deliver second place overall in the standings. Not satisfied with second place Katie went on to win at the next round in Stoke on Trent outsprinting four other riders to take top spot, with Eileen Roe (4th) and Lydia Boylan (10th) the team remained just one point behind in the overall team competition, with Katie and Eileen standing 1st and 3rd in the individual competition.
The series moved on to Northwich for round three and the strength of Team WNT came to the fore as in the absence of Katie, Gabriella Shaw and Lydia Boylan maintained their good form posting top ten finishes to keep the team firmly in the hunt for the overall prize. Lydia and Gabri-ella continued in similar vein when the series moved to Wembley, with both of them posting top 10 finishes and Lydia moving in to 3rd place in the overall standings. The familiar street circuit of Croydon was next and Lydia once again showed what an excellent rider she is by finishing fourth in a very tight sprint for the line. As the series moved on to Bath it was Eileen’s opportuni-ty to enter the record books as the most successful rider in the series history as she took a stunning victory in the rain. The rest of the team pulled strongly to take the team victory on the night, closing the gap in the overall standings.
The series now moved north to Motherwell and the Team’s Scottish pairing of Katie and Eileen were determined to do well in front of their home crowd, and they didn’t disappoint with Eileen extending her series record with another win and Katie taking 3rd spot as well as the fastest lap award. The team also took the team prize on the night and moved them back in to second place overall, setting up an exciting finish to the series at Stevenage. An addition to the programme here was a team time trial and, an opportunity to gain seconds on the competition. Team WNT Pro Cycling put everything into this event taking the win by 3 seconds over their nearest rivals. The race itself saw Katie take 3rd place with Gabriella backing her up in 8th, technical issues saw other team members finish out of the points, meaning in the overall standings at the end of the series Team WNT Pro Cycling finished 3rd by just a handful of points.
May wasn’t just about the Matrix Fitness GP Tour Series as a busy race calendar saw the team competing in the Emakumeen XXX Bira UCI 2.1 race in Spain. Added incentive was provided by Team Sponsor WNT also sponsoring the sprinters jersey in the race, so it was only right that the team competed hard to win this, with Katie taking the jersey, scoring points every day despite a heavy crash in one of the early stages. Her success was again credited to teamwork which saw further stage success for Katie thanks to the tireless efforts of Hayley Simmonds, Elise Maes and the rest of the team over the five stages. There was also the one-day Durango-Durango Emakumeen race in which Hayley and Elise posted terrific results in 10th and 13th respectively among a very strong field of riders.
Back to the UK and it was the third running of the Lincoln GP British National Series. A tough course that included a number of passes up the famous cobbled climb of Michelgate saw Team WNT Pro Cycling put on an excellent show, with Lydia taking third spot overall. This came after a crash for Lydia on lap one, she got back to the peloton with the help of Hannah Walker, worked her way back to the front, with all the girls were helping to bring the solo breakaway back, then it was left to Gabriella to put Lydia in a good position by providing the lead out into the final climb of Michaelgate and take 7th place for herself in the process.
Wrapping up the events in May was some time trialing news with Katie and Hayley continuing the team’s success with 1st and 2nd places in the CTT Knight Composites Time trial series.
With the OVO Energy Women’s Tour taking centre stage in June, just a quick mention of these early June races with Josie knight taking the win at the Croston Velo Road Race, taking top spot after a bunch sprint at the finish. Josie Knight- won the bunch sprint. The challenging CiCLE was up next and while the team suffered from early mechanicals and punctures on the mix of tarmac and ‘off-road’ racing with Eileen Roe and Becca Carter putting Katie in a strong position to take the race win leading the sprint from 400 m out from a from a break of 4 riders. Keira McVitty provided the main support that allowed Katie to also take the Queen of the Mountains jersey.
Now on to the small matter of the Women’s tour, one of the biggest races in Women’s cycling and the race of the season for Team WNT Pro Cycling.