The Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen, where the world’s elite women’s cyclists participated, took place from the 15th to the 21st of July. Team WNT took part in event in order to get a closer look at the highest level of women’s cycling. Our ladies knew from the beginning that they would not likely have a great chance at a leading position based on the level of competition – however they were able to exceed even their own expectations using strong will and courage to grow together as a team. Opportunities like this are ideal for team building.
14 days before the Olympic Games many of the professional cyclists took advantage of the Thüringen Rundfahrt to prepare themselves for the competition in Rio. Names such as Amanda Spratt, Ellen van Dijk, Marianne Vos, Annemiek van Vleuten or Emma Johansson were on the participant list and demonstrate how high the riding level of this stage race was. The stage race was a challenge for Team WNT Cycling UK but also a great opportunity to compete with the elite in cycling. “It is a great experience to line up with the world’s best cyclists who are here to prepare themselves for the Olympic Games in Rio”, said Lydia Boylan, Irish Champion. The other riders in the field were not the only challenge presented by the 7 day stage race. According to Lydia there were many factors of the Thüringen Rundfahrt that were extremely difficult when compared to races in Great Britain. “In UK we have no races with such a high standard. The longest races last maximum 5 days, here they last even 7 days. You can feel that in your legs”, said Boylan. The hilly landscape in Thüringen was also a serious factor raising the difficulty. Her team colleague Jo Tindley totally agreed with this point and added: „We are not fulltime cyclists, only an amateur team. We compete with athletes whose job it is to do races and there you notice the difference. However we do a great job as a team, we appear professionally and can be satisfied with our performances.”
In addition to Lydia Boylan, Keira McVitty, Natalie Grinczer and Jo Tindley, two guest riders supported Team WNT at the Thüringen Rundfahrt. We are talking about Haylay Simmonds, British champion in time trials as well as Stefanie Paul, acting regional champion in Lower Saxony. But the two guest riders weren’t able to influence the overall result. At the end Team WNT landed in second to last place but was one experience richer. Best rider for the Team WNT in overall classification was Natalie Grinczer, who came up to place 41 (of 79). Nobody had to be disappointed about this result because for Team WNT it was the Olympic motto that counted at the Thüringen Rundfahrt: “The important thing is not winning but taking part”.