2017 saw fifteen riders pull on their Craft, Team WNT Pro Cycling jerseys and race throughout Europe. It was going to be a difficult task stepping up to the ‘big league’ of women’s professional cycling, but Claude Sun, WNT World MD and WNT Pro Cycling Team Manager, had a simple message for his riders’ way back in January, “race with passion, fighting spirit and team spirit”.
The team racing with the ideologies set by Claude didn’t take long to net their first UCI win with Lydia Boylan, who took her chance to win an impressive solo victory on the final stage at Setmana Valenciana Ciclista in early March. Even before that, Katie Archibald had picked up four National Track titles in a cold and bitter January weekend on the famous Manchester Velodrome.
Stepping up to UCI level brings that added pressure to perform, mainly on home soil, and in the UK during 2017 there were three UCI registered teams, so the domestic racing was as always, a tough place to compete. With Hayley Simmonds taking care of pretty much every time trial event she signed on for. Winning 4 time trials in the first half of the year, followed up by winning the National 10-mile TT championship for the 4th year in a row, National 25-mile TT Championship for a 3rd year in a row and the CTT Circuit Championships. While the time trial scene was looking on in awe of Simmonds’ TT ability, Team WNT Pro Cycling turned their attention to the Matrix Fitness GP Tour Series. Four team wins, three individual wins and multiple individual top ten placings from riders throughout the team. Two individual wins from Eileen Roe helped her to become the most successful rider in Matrix GP history, with a total of five wins. Fellow Scot, Katie Archibald followed suit to take an individual win in Stoke-on-Trent. Roe, Archibald, Lydia Boylan, Gabriella Shaw rounded off the team individual results with top ten placings.
National Road Race Championship week saw Lydia Boylan defend her Irish title, with Elise Maes winning two silver medals along with Katie Archibald taking home a bronze and silver medal with strong performances all round for the rest of the team.
As the year progressed we soon hit July and again racing with the passion and fighting spirit that Team WNT Pro Cycling started with, Hayley Simmonds took her first UCI win on stage three of Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour and our second professional win. Simmonds finished with a 53 second lead and was the rightful wearer of the team’s first yellow leader’s jersey. Later in July with the team split in half, racing a double programme throughout Europe, Archibald took her fifth National title of 2017 with exceptional help from her teammates winning the HSBC National Criterium in WNT UK’s home city of Sheffield.
The team took wins in five different disciplines, cyclo-cross, time-trials, road racing, criteriums and on the track, with Archibald winning the London Six Day for the second year in a row in the latter discipline, taking victories in five races to secure the overall win as well as the UCI classified omnium.
Many riders made significant improvements throughout the season, but it was Natalie Grinczer who flourished at the An Post Ras na mBan in Ireland, taking 3rd place in the time-trial, 4th on a mountain top finish, to eventually finish 3rd place overall on general classification, verifying through experience, learning from mistakes and team work, that results will come.
Hard work from all the staff and riders pays off and at the end of the year Team WNT Pro Cycling had a total of three riders represent their countries at the Road World Championships in Bergen. Elise Maes, Lydia Boylan and Hayley Simmonds, pulled on their country’s jerseys, Luxembourg, Ireland and Great Britain respectively, with pride to finish off a fantastic first season for Team WNT Pro Cycling.
From January to now, the riders have raced with the three simple messages Claude had set them at the start of the year. Team WNT Pro Cycling would like to thank the riders for making our first year as a UCI team so successful and enjoyable; Katie Archibald, Anna Badegruber, Lydia Boylan, Becca Carter, Natalie Grinczer, Hayley Jones, Emily Kay, Josie Knight, Elise Maes, Keira McVitty, Rebecca Rimmington, Eileen Roe, Gabriella Shaw, Hayley Simmonds, and Hannah Walker. Along with all the staff behind the scenes that make this whole team possible; Claude Sun, Tony Pennington, Graeme Herd, Jessie Walker, Tamara Schijff, Roman Entensperger, Evan Oliphant, Sebastian Nittke, Hannah Walker, Jenny Suedbeck and Sandra Kieltrunk.
We thank you all and especially our fans who follow us around the globe, we cannot wait to start the 2018 season, we are planning to make it our best yet!
Team WNT Pro Cycling in numbers;
- Three UCI Victories
- Three riders selected to represent their country at the World Road Race Championships
- Nine Time Trial Victories
- Ten National Titles
- Ten Victories on the track
- Eleven National Championship Medals (Silver or Bronze)
- Fifteen Riders
-Nineteen UCI Top Ten Finishes
- Thirty-Nine Victories
- Ninety-One Top Ten Finishes