Team WNT’s first official race of the year was the Dave Peck Memorial road race, a round of the national team series. Due to injury Sophie Lankford didn’t start and neither did Hannah Walker, as she was recovering from donating bone marrow to her brother. Therefore Team WNT headed to the start line light on numbers. The race proved to be a tough debut for Team WNT with unavoidable punctures and crashes meaning we didn’t come away from the race with the hoped for results despite Jo Tindley looking on great form that day.
The following weekend, Team WNT bounced back with two riders contesting their combined regional road race championships, with the additional help of team mate, Becca Carter, who did a sterling job working for Lydia Boylan helping her to take the overall victory and, the East Midlands title. Rose Osborne came in third to take the Central championship title. We are delighted to come away with two divisional champions in the ranks of Team WNT.
The next big challenge in April was the Tour of the Reservoir event, which is the opening round of the Women’s National Road Race Series. Hannah was back with the team, although not fully recovered yet, but we had now lost Jo Tindley for this race due to a broken ankle. Stage one was a 3.6km loop consisting of 10 laps with the pace fast from the start. By the finish a breakaway of two riders, Dani King and Katie Archibald contested the sprint for first, with a chasing group containing Charline Joiner, 1 minute 26 seconds back battling for the final place on the podium. A superb effort from Charline brought her home at the head of the bunch sprint to deliver Team WNT’s first national podium!
The follow day’s stage two saw the peloton facing a very hilly 88km in the Northumberland countryside. While the race began under sunny skies the weather soon took a turn for the worse and by the last lap snow was settling. From the start, as with the previous day, the pace was fast and the large field of riders splintered into several groups with Charline and Lydia managing to stay at the sharp end. Both riders rode fantastically in horrendous conditions finishing 10th and 12th respectively. This result placed Charline 6th on the overall classification. A great result after two hard days of racing.
Last weekend the Women's National Road Race Series moved on to the Cheshire Classic, with Team WNT entering six riders: Charline, Hannah, Becca, Rose, Brit, and Sam, who lined up in a quality field that included Laura Trott wearing her national champions jersey. The strength of the field was a reminder of the popularity of this classic event, which saw the racers complete 12 laps of 7.7km circuit with the finish line half way up the famous 'cliff' climb. The race was won with a solo breakaway for Dame Sarah Storey DBE. Team WNT had 3 riders left to contest the bunch sprint, where Charline took a credible 7th place.
Charline's consistent top ten placings over the first two rounds has left her 2nd in the overall standings for the national road series, just one point off the current leader Dani King. The team will be working hard to keep Charline up there in the overall for the rest of the season!
Speaking of Team WNT’s performance in its first month of competition, team manager Marcus said "Despite a few injuries and other small problems it's been a great start to the year, especially at the level we've stepped up to, the whole team are learning so much at each event and team spirit just keeps building."
Team WNT will be sending a team to the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire event this coming weekend. The ladies race starts at 10:30 and features four laps of a 20km circuit around closed roads in York. Come along and support Team WNT letour.yorkshire.com/tour-de-yorkshire/womens-race
One of the primary targets for Team WNT in 2015 is the Matrix Fitness Grand Prix Series of town centre races. Round One takes place in Redditch on the 19th May, with the race starting at 6 pm. Get along to support Team WNT