Tom Pidcock of PH-MAS/Paul Milnes/Oldfield ERT was almost 20 seconds quicker than last year’s winner Fred Wright to take the opening stage of the SD Sealants Junior Tour of Wales.
Pidcock took the yellow jersey after completing the time trial in 13:00.42 with Wright, of VC Londres, stopping the clock at 13:19.13 – ten seconds ahead of third-placed George Kimber.
Saturday’s second stage will see the riders travel from Abergavenny to Rhigos – a gruelling 74 miles with no fewer than five categorised climbs.
The Junior Tour of Wales has constantly evolved since it started as a two-day race in 1981 and this year it will run over four days with the traditional Saturday morning time trial from Brynmawr to the top of the Tumble moving to Friday evening.
Harrison Wood of Mid Devon CC set the early pace over the 8.4km course with a time of 13:49.45 which stood for 25 minutes until Joshua Sandman of Team Backstedt/Hotchillee shaved off seven seconds to go top with a 13:42.85.
Another 20 minutes would pass until Kimber of Cycle Sport Dynamo leaped ahead by more than 13 seconds, breaking the 13-and-a-half minute barrier with a 13:29.51.
And it wasn’t until the closing stages that Kimber was beaten as Ben Healey of Zappi Racing Team slotted in between Kimber and Sandman on 13:41.91.
Then with just eight riders remaining, Mark Donovan of Beste Alde La Tostadora/SC Duranguasa shaved a second and a half of Healey’s time to go second.
Starting just two minutes behind Donovan, the remarkable Pidcock had long passed minute man Joseph Nally of Scotland and was taking big chunks out of Donovan.
He crested the Tumble in 13:00.42 to take the lead by a remarkable 30 seconds.
Last year’s overall winner Wright followed Pidcock up the mountain and set a very impressive time – ten seconds faster than anyone else.
After Saturday’s 74-mile second stage, Sunday sees the sprinters get their chance with the riders tackling two very different stages – the closed circuit at Bryn Bach Park and the fast Hardwick road circuit.
Monday’s finale is an epic 60-mile loop which seems them return to the Tumble from the other side.
1. Thomas Pidcock J1 PH-MAS/Paul Milnes/Oldfield ERT 13:00.42
2. Fred Wright J1 VC Londres 13:19.13
3. George Kimber J2 Cycle Sport Dynamo 13:29.51
4. Mark Donovan J1 Beste Alde La Tostadora/S.C.Duranguasa 13:40.47
5. Ben Healy FJ1 Zappi Racing Team 13:41.91
6. Joshua Sandman FJ2 Team Backstedt/Hotchillee 13:42.85
7. Jacques Sauvagnargues J2 Zappi Racing Team 13:43.30
8. Ethan Vernon FJ1 Team Corley Cycles 13:44.80
9. Theo Modell FJ2 Team Corley Cycles 13:48.21
10. Harrison Wood FJ2 Mid Devon CC 13:49.45