Junior Tour of Wales
Junior Tour of Wales 23rd -26th August
After a solid block of racing in Holland at the Junior Tour of Assen and in France at Ronde des Vallées guest riding for the Spokes Racing Team, I arrived at Junior Tour of Wales rested and ready to race and hoping to produce a decent result on courses that looked in profile very much like my home Yorkshire roads.
Stage 1 was a 5.2 mile ITT from Brynmawr to The Tumble but a mistake in equipment selection cost me time. I had elected to ride my Giant Propel aero road bike rather than my Giant Trinity TT bike and while my power was good I lost a lot of speed and time on the flat and downhill mid section of the stage eventually finishing 1:47 down and in 57th. Lesson learnt for next time!
Stage 2 at 68.6 miles suited me well on paper with 5 KOMs and a hard uphill finish at Rhigos/Pan y Cymoedd, however I suffered from stomach issues on the final climb getting dropped by the group and coming in 46th at 4:51 down. Looking in to the issue after the race I think it was down to over fuelling in an attempt to avoid the bonking I had suffered at Ronde des Valées but backfired so I now know better.
Stage 3 was a morning crit on the Pembray National Closed road circuit and at 20 laps and 22 miles promised to be raced hard and fast. Six riders got away early and forced a gap. The 6 eventually became 4 and while the gap was closed from around 50 seconds to 25 secs we had left it too late and I finished with the bunch.
Stage 4 was in the afternoon following the crit and was from Pembray to Nantgaredig at 62 miles. After an initial climb it was 4 laps of 18Km and one for the rouleurs and sprinters. An early nature break with 10 or so other riders just as the racing kicked off resulted in a 20 mile chase back on to the peloton with only 3 of us from the 10 that stopped making it back in. Feeling good after the chase I repeatedly attacked to try and get a gap but was brought back each time. A group of 4 fought it out for the final sprint and I finished with the group 25 secs down but much happier with the days efforts and my legs.
Stage 5 was the big final stage from Abergavenny to the Tumble Mountain at 58.9miles. With 3 KOMs it was going to be a hot, hard day at the end of 4 days of hard racing. After the previous days chase and attacking I paid the price and I just didn’t have the legs on the final climb finishing 49th at 3:42 down.
Overall 79 finished out of 114 starters, I finished 46th but learnt a lot of lessons for next year and will be back.
Thanks must go to the Richard Hopkins and his team who expertly organised the race, the BC officials, National Escort Group of Wales, the volunteers and marshals who keep us safe racing on open roads, the venues and councils for hosting the race.
Thanks also to my team – Team JRC, my bike sponsors @Giant Sheffield and the team , Andy, Pete and Jacob who help prepare my bike which has performed perfectly in all my racing this year and also to Huw and Craig @Vitfor for their coaching and guidance and to Chris Sidwells @Tom Simpson Memorial Fund who help support me.