The second round of the Matrix Fitness GP held around the town centre of Redditch in the heart of England took place in fantastic conditions and superb atmosphere. Team WNT were once again up against some serious competition, including two UCI level teams.
Given the level of competition from the ten teams involved, Team WNT set out their position early with instructions to race hard and smart and ensure that any breaks were covered. This in itself is a challenge given the nature of the course at Redditch, which is quite unique in terms of its layout. “At Redditch you are either going down a fast decent after a tight chicane or, climbing back up to the short finish straight, meaning there is no opportunity to rest,” says Team manager Marcus Nainby. Due to the nature of the course, and the stinging climb, the peloton soon split into three groups on the road, with Team WNT placing two riders in the front group, with the others chasing hard to get back in contention.
The action was taking place all over the road with National Criterium Champion Nicki Juniper of Ford Eco Boost, one of the race favourites suffering a mechanical putting her well down the field. This unsettlement in the pack allowed Annasley Park of team Breeze to jump off the front in what would become the race winning move. Meanwhile, Team WNT’s sprinter Jo Tindley continued her early season consistent form by contesting both sprint laps and coming away with points to add to those won in Motherwell, doing her overall Sprints campaign no harm at all.
Jo was joined by Lydia Boylan through much of the race with the pair of them mixing it at the front of the lead group, which was chasing Annasley who was up the road. At the bell for the final lap, it appeared that Team WNT was well positioned for good results, but the run to the line, with the uphill preceding a short burst to the line was not ideal for Jo, who dug in but just couldn’t quite keep pace with the leaders as they crossed the line with the leaders. This left Lydia to be Team WNT’s best placed rider on the night, finishing just outside the top ten. This result moves Lydia up to fourth in the overall standings in the GP series. Completing the points scoring for Team WNT was Hannah Walker who led home the second group thanks to a great sprint finish to win head the bunch kick to the line. The points gained by Hannah helped to place Team WNT fifth on the night and maintain the Team’s fifth place overall in the series. The winning team on the evening were Team Breeze which is the British Cycling development program squad.
Other news from the night saw Corrine Clark make her return to competition after fracturing her pelvis at the Energiewacht Tour seven weeks ago! It was good to see Corrine back out there and mixing it with some of the best riders in the country. Corrine, along with Sam Burman, came home in the final larger group on the evening. "It's a little disappointing to again come away without a good score on the board, but we'll go into next week more confident with a focus on rectifying this," says Marcus.