Youth Tour of Assen
European Junior Tour of Assen
The following day from the Junior Mens National Road Race Championships I was in Assen, Holland for the European Junior Tour of Assen also known as International Jeugdtour Assen for which 2019 was the 55th running of this very well organised event .
The race consists of 6 stages over 6 days in the Dutch province of Drenthe starting with a short Prologue. As this was the day after the UK Junior National Championships the organisers had allowed UK Juniors to have a late start time for the prologue but this still meant getting from Bassingham to Northern Holland by 1pm to register which we only just made in time.
The prologue went well where I finished 25th, 8 seconds off the lead which I was pleased with.
Stage 2 was a criterium around East Assen – last year as a second year youth I crashed on this course during the two minutes of rain of the entire race. 2 riders got away early and built a gap. I rode in the pack for the first half then tried to attack to get a gap. I got away with one other rider and then a couple of others bridged across. More riders came across to form a group of 8. The 2 leaders fought it out for the win and I placed 5th overall 24 second down placing me 6th overall on GC
Stage 3 was the Classic, a 91km point to point road race with a cobbled secteur. A break went within 3km as riders in the peloton lost wheels in cross winds and I missed the break and found myself in a chasing pack. Unfortunately half way through the race one of the riders in our group came down in front of me and I had nowhere to go other than over the top of him landing on my chin. Having chased back on the heavens opened and made the course slippery and I lost my back wheel and came down again in the final km on a roundabout but was awarded the same time as the group I was in, finishing 2:09 down and dropping me to 16th on GC.
Stage 4 was the ITT and I was feeling a bit sore from the previous day. In the end lost 1:49 and dropping to 25th on GC.
Stage 5 – the Omloop, a kermesse style race usually dictated by cross winds but none appeared. This is a fast long circuit race around the village of Kostvlies with a cobbled section. A group got away and was being chased down by the peloton and it looked like they were going to be caught but they just managed to stay away for the group I got off the peloton with and I finished 13th at 8 seconds and moving me up a couple of places on GC to 24th.
Stage 6 was a final criterium where no one could make a decisive break and which ended in a bunch sprint and the peloton being all given the same time.
Overall I finished 21st as a first year junior against some excellent international racers and learnt a lot for next year.
Thanks go to my team – Team JRC, my bike sponsors @Giant Sheffield and the team , Andy, Pete and Jacob who help prepare my bikes which performed perfectly all race, to Huw and Craig @Vitfor for their coaching and guidance and to Chris Sidwells @Tom Simpson Memorial Fund who helps support me in my racing.