The third round of the Matrix Fitness GP Series took place in the capital of the Potteries, Stoke on Trent, with Team WNT fielding a strong team, including Natalie Grinczer, who was taking on the Criterium challenge for the first time.
The five-strong Team WNT included Natalie Grinczer who as a time-trial specialist had never ridden in a city centre criterium before, but the team was confident that her time trialling skills would give her the strength to complete the race in a good position, which turned out to be the case. Natalie’s result was made more impressive by the nature of the Stoke on Trent course, which like Redditch the week before consisted of a lot of climbing, mixed with some technical bends. The tough nature of the course caused splits throughout the peloton from the very early stages of the race, with lots of small groups forming on the road.
As in Redditch Lydia Boylan ended up as Team WNT’s highest placed rider, eventually finishing in 10th position. During the race she had to spend a lot of time chasing the leading group as she found herself just the wrong side of an early split of nine riders, from which the eventual winner would come from. Keeping Lydia company on the road Natalie put in a strong performance to come home in 15th place, with our team sprinter Jo Tindley, in spite of her not feeling 100 per cent before the race started, put in a brave effort to finish as the Team’s third scoring rider, coming across the line in 21st place. These three scores put Team WNT in fourth place overall on the night and maintain its fifth place overall in the series. Completing the evening for Team WNT were Hannah Walker and Sam Burman who both worked hard for the team throughout the race, but both expressed how challenging the course had been.
The Matrix Fitness GP Series now enters its final stages, with three rounds in one week, with Team WNT taking to the roads of Stevenage and Croydon on the 5th and 6th June respectively, with Natalie making another appearance and the team welcoming back Becca Carter for what promises to be a fast and furious week of racing. The final round is being held in Portsmouth on the 9th June.
“It showed in the way the field was blown apart early on that this circuit was taking its toll on all of the competitors, I believe our riders gave 100 per cent effort, but it wasn’t to be this evening. Looking at the results the individual overall standings remain close, with Lydia still in the mix in sixth place, just 10 points away from a top three spot. With this in mind we will change our focus and concentrate on the individual element of the series and try and put Lydia in a strong position to challenge for honours," says Team Manager Marcus Nainby.