WNT – ROTOR Pro Cycling bond together at their first training camp of 2018 in Cambrils, before they headed to their first race of the season, the UCI 2.2 ranked, four-day stage race, Setmana Ciclista Valenciana.
Riders and staff joined up for two exciting days in Madrid at the WNT Iberica technical centre for the team’s media day before heading to the ROTOR head-quarters for the team’s presentation, revealing the 2018 jersey and ROTOR UNO equipped, Orbea ORCA OMR road bike.
The teams 10-day training camp was five and half hours east of Madrid in Cambrils, 10 crucial days to dial the team’s strengths and weaknesses, whilst also testing the new equipment and kit.
The camp gave riders and staff a chance to get to know each other, especially with 5 new members joining the team, including three riders, Lin Teutenberg, Aafke Soet and Melissa Lowther, and two new members of staff, mechanic Sebastian Nittke as well as manual therapist and soigneur, Tamara Schijff. Unfortunately, Irish road race champion, Lydia Boylan was unable to attend the training camp due to preparation for the UCI World Track Championships in Apeldoorn, where she’ll be racing in the Omnium and the Madison.
Everyday had a focus, both on and off the bike. Motor pacing sessions, team time-trial practice on the Orbea ORDU TT bikes, core strength sessions, a massage or treatment from the manual therapist as well as time for sociability in the evenings were incorporated into the team’s camp ahead of traveling to the team’s first race of 2018, Setmana Ciclista Valenciana.
The team travelled directly to Valencia from the camp, a race which had good memories from 2017 with Lydia Boylan taking the team’s first UCI victory. The 2018 edition would see Natalie Grinczer, Eileen Roe, Elise Maes, Melissa Lowther and Aafke Soet on the start line.
With Setmana Ciclista Valenciana being a hilly race, the team would race for young Dutch talent, Aafke Soet in the hunt for the young rider’s jersey. Having finished 13th on stage 1, the team put Soet into second place overall in the white jersey classification, three seconds behind Parkinson (DRP).
Three more days of formidable team work, saw Natalie Grinczer make the break away on stage 2 which included Soet, until the group of 15 riders were caught with 10km to go.
Grinczer said “Every day on our training camp was specific, and particularly geared towards our first stage race of the year. I think it paid off, we rode well as a unit these past four days.”
Eileen Roe was able to pick up points in the intermediate sprints and finished 3rd overall in the classification, whilst the final stage, the queen stage, would be make or break as to whether Aafke would take the young riders jersey. Elise, Natalie and Aafke were in the chasing group behind the 9 leaders but unfortunately were unable to close the three second deficit to take the jersey. Aafke finished 14th overall on the general classification in her first race for WNT – ROTOR Pro Cycling.
Former junior European Time Trial Champion, Aafke Soet said “Setmana Ciclista Valenciana was a great race to start the season with. I was happy with my race form as I didn’t expect to ride this good already. I was close to getting the U23 jersey but I can look back at a great race, taking second place in the jersey and 14th place overall in the general classification!”
“I’m delighted to see how the team raced these past four days in Valencia, keeping Aafke in contention for the young rider’s jersey. I look forward to seeing their progress over the next few races, the next one being Drentse Acht van Westerveld followed by our first UCI Women’s World Tour race of 2018, Ronde van Drenthe.” Says team manager, Claude Sun.