News – WNT Women’s Team Update


British women’s team, WNT hits the International Circuit at Ras na mban in Ireland

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News – WNT Women’s Team Update

Team Press Release

Team WNT’s impact on the world of elite ladies cycling in the UK in its first season saw it gain an invitation to travel across the sea to Ireland and take part in the prestigious Ras na mban five-day international stage race. This is Ireland’s premier womens’ cycle race attracting teams from all over the world, and with Team WNT having the Irish National Road Race Champion in its ranks it was determined to make its mark on the event.

A strong team was selected by Team Manager Marcus Nainby and Sports Director Rick Lister, which consisted of Sam Burman, Jo Tindley, Becca Carter, Pia De Quint with the team leader role going to Irish National Road Race Champion Lydia Boylan. With the team ready five long days and six stages lay ahead, beginning with the relatively short 64 km Maghera stage.


As with any stage race nerves were obvious at the start and this one was no different. Soon after the start Team WNT’s Becca was taken down in a crash just 5 kms into the race. Fortunately she wasn’t badly injured, unlike the young rider from Starley, who found her race ended in the same crash with a suspected broken elbow. Becca had to expend lots of energy the rest of the day chasing to get back in the main field. Meanwhile at the front, the rest of the team spent the first half of the race making sure Lydia stayed out of trouble.

Mid-stage came the first Queen of the Hills (QOH) category 2 climb. This was taken at a very fast pace and Pia suffered a dropped chain and found herself out of the bunch as it stretched out over the hill. Jo then struggled with the pace a bit and dropped back. Sam also found herself distanced as they reached the summit but both her and Jo made the most of the descent and chased back on to the group!

Then further disaster struck as Sam hit a pothole hard and punctured her rear tyre, a quick service stop had her back on her way, but the time lost meant she wouldn’t see the front of the race again, so preserved energy by joining another group to prepare for stage two. Back at the front Jo was supporting Lydia well in the run in to the finish line, where with 1 km to go Jo forced her way to the front of the bunch and accelerated forcing the bunch into one long line behind her.

With 400m to go she was caught as the sprinters started their jump to the line. In a very close finish Lydia was pipped to the line by the fast finishing youngster Grace Garner of RST but took 2nd place by a considerable margin. First stage over and a great result for Lydia and a brilliant start to the week for Team WNT!

Wild Atlantic Way
For stage two the clue was in the name – Wild Atlantic Way a 112 km hilly ride on an exposed route which is the Queen stage of the race that would shape the general classification for the rest of the week. Team WNT’s riders knew they had to be vigilant and try their best to get Lydia into the right breakaway.

An early attack by the Dutch duo of Femke Kuipers and Mirthe Wagenaar proved to be a great launchpad, as first Nikki Juniper jumped across to them shortly followed by Eileen Roe, Annasley Park and Stephanie Pohl. Recognising that a group containing these very strong, quality, riders was the move to be in, Becca did a great job escorting Lydia into position, then Lydia launched after the break along with Eve McCrystal and Emma Norsgaard.

The gap soon grew to over 1 minute 30 seconds as the escapees worked well together, but they still had over 70 kms to go though! The effort began to take its toll as a touch of wheels took Annasley and Eve out of the break and crashing to the ground, both riders got back up but were swallowed up by a chasing pack just 28 seconds down now.

The pace at the front was frenetic and too much for some as they found themselves dropped, Lydia hung on until, with 10 km to go Pohl put in a stinging attack that only Roe and Norsgaard could react to. At the finish Norsgaard managed to gap Pohl by four seconds to take the race leaders pink jersey, Lydia came in 29 seconds later in a nine rider chasing group, putting her in 4th overall, another great performance on a truly epic stage. Becca was next to roll in a few minutes later followed by Jo and Sam then Pia. Sam especially had found the stage tough as weighing only 48 kg the cross winds had blown her all over the road all day!

Another stage and another name to spread fear into the peloton as stage 3, The Beast of the East at 80 km reared its head. A quick look at the stage profile confirmed that it was a good name for the stage, especially after the day before. The overall race wouldn’t be won on this stage but could definitely be lost! To add to the trepidation, and typically Irish, the rains came!


Team WNT’s Irish National Road Race Champion, Lydia Boylan, finished in sixth place at Ras na mban

The team awoke to miserable grey clouds and very wet roads, luckily since the horrible experience at the tour of the reservoir earlier in the year Team WNT had been equipped for this race with custom WNT edition LeCol thermal/waterproof soft shell ‘Yabba’ jerseys and Ass saver mini spray guards.

This was the perfect day to put both to the test. The climbing started straight from the roll out and it detonated a tired field! Jo had a fantastic day as she found her climbing legs and stayed at the front of affairs all race only a dropped chain with less than 5 km’s to go stopping her going for the stage win, as it was Grace Garner one again took victory with Lydia hanging on for 4th and retaining 4th overall. A hard day but the whole team had ridden well.

Some may call it a respite but stage four was the 8 km Individual time trial or, the Race of Truth as it is known. This was held on the Saturday morning and would be followed up with an evening kermesse. For such a short TT a good warm up is essential so turbo trainers were set up under the team awning as it once again started raining. First off for Team WNT was Pia then Sam, Becca, Jo and finally Lydia. All the team put in fantastic performances in this short TT with most riders times being very close.

This was also the last real shake up in the overall classification, even though the times were very close the lead of the race changed with Stephanie Pohl taking the lead and Lydia losing a couple of places ending the day in 6th, still a great result and still very close between all of the top ten.

Stage five, the Kermesse, was a 40 km evening circuit race to finish off the penultimate day. A fast pace from the start saw riders being shelled out every lap, Jo suffered more bad luck with a puncture so spent the majority chasing all on her own. The race finished with Pia, Lydia and Sam all safely home in the front group with Becca just off the back after dodging a last lap crash!

And so to the final stage, the An Post 85 km ride, with hills and rain to contend with to finish off the race and the riders legs! As Irish National Road Race Champion Lydia wanted this to be a final hurrah for the race and so she escaped the remains of the main field on the long run in to the finish line, managing to get a gap of 15 second along with her Irish compatriot Eve McCrystal.

However, the wide roads on the run in meant that they were caught just 500 m from the finish, but Lydia hung on to maintain her 6th place overall, a brilliant result for Lydia and for the team! This was Lydia’s third ride at Ras na mban and her third top ten finish, and she was also the best placed Irish rider for the 2nd time.

“This was a fantastic race, the team would like to thank the organisers and marshalls for a great weeks racing, the whole team enjoyed the experience and every single one of us learnt so much,” says Marcus Nainby, Manager, Team WNT.

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