The 2016 English National Championships took place in Stockton on Tees last weekend, with racing getting underway with the time trial on the Thursday afternoon. TeamWNT was represented by two riders in this event, known as 'the race of truth', these were Natalie Grinczer and Bex Rimmington. Starting at one minute intervals the riders are equipped with
bikes built for outright speed, with aero handlebars and solid disc rear wheels, equipment designed to help you cut through the air with the least resistance possible. The women's race was over a fairly flat 34.8km course with a tight twisting city centre finish. Defending champion Hayley Simmonds took the win with Natalie coming home as the best finishing TeamWNT rider, ending up in a creditable 13th place. Bex who is still on the comeback after her illness earlier in the year was just a few places back in 17th.
The road race, held on Sunday morning, took in six laps of a very undulating large circuit before heading back into Stockton for three laps of the smaller city centre finishing circuit. In total the riders would cover 106km. This race also incorporated the under 23 championship.
The racing stayed very much together for four of the large circuits, with Dame Sarah Storey out front all on her own. Then on the main climb of the course a group of 12 detached themselves off the front, this largely consisted of race favourites including the Barnes sisters, Dani King, Lucy Garner, Nikki Harris, Molly Weaver among others. Unfortunately TeamWNT missed the break, but had Keira and Natalie in another group about 3o seconds back and quite a few minutes up on the main bunch. At the finish the Barnes sisters took 1st and 2nd with Lucy Garner 3rd.When the chase group reached the line Keira put in a great sprint to take 17th overall which put her 7th in the under 23 category. Natalie rolled in a few meters behind in 21st.
As we began to pack our bikes and equipment away the news came through that Lydia had managed to retain her Irish national championship with a great ride in some horrible weather. She will wear the champion of Ireland's jersey for another season!