It’s that time of year when elite cyclists make their way home for their own National Championship races and Team WNT was well represented in the English and Irish events, with Natalie Grinczer and Bex Rimmington heading to Stockton on Tees for the English championship and defending champion Lydia Boylan going for her second Shamrock jersey in the Irish Road Race event.
To win a National road race once is an achievement for any rider, but Lydia can now proudly state that she is a double champion having retained her Irish Road Race title in a close sprint finish after a grueling, rainy, race. “The Nationals are always a difficult race, no matter what. It’s one of the biggest goals of my season. The added pressure of being defending champion was bigger than I let on, I had the confidence of knowing that I could win it, but the nerves still hit me on race morning and it’s the only race that does this to me. In the build up to the race I could barely eat and throughout the whole race my stomach felt uncomfortable, but I had to trust my legs. My race tactics were simple; stay near the front especially for the narrow climbing section of the course and especially as we had typical Irish rain for the entire race.”
All the riders knew it would be the climbing section of the course where the damage would be done, so there wasn’t much attacking anywhere else. While the three laps of the climb did split it up a bit the group was always too big (14) to be a working group, with many riders just ‘sitting in’ and going with each move. The result of this meant that it was going to be a nervous finish to the race for Lydia as there were many riders in the group that she wasn’t familiar with. Three riders well known to Lydia, Eve McCrystal and Fiona Meade, had been the most attacking of the race and Lauren Creamer was also climbing very well, so she knew the ones to watch coming to the uphill sprint. “Luckily for me the pace was kept high in the last few kilometres and I was 2nd wheel, exactly where I wanted to be. I knew with the uphill sprint I would rather lead it out so I came to front with about 500 metres to go, a small decent, over a bridge and then the road started going up. I kicked and gave everything I had with 150 metres to go. Eve was right on my hip. I had to keep pushing all the way to the finish. Thankfully I hit the finish line first, again! I couldn’t believe it! So unbelievably happy to retain the title and again in front of all my incredibly supportive family.”
“Winning her second Irish National Championship is a superb achievement for Lydia and everyone at TeamWNT. For such a young team to have a double National Champion among its rosta is brilliant. Once again, a a massive well done and congratulations to Lydia," says Marcus Nainby, Team Manager.