Maia Howell, Max Hinds, Melanie Rowe and Finlay Storrie were crowned the champions of the London 2 Day in round seven of the Youth Circuit Series.
The event was presented by VC Londres and Lee Valley Youth CC, with the first two stages on Saturday taking place in Cyclopark, followed by two more races at Redbridge Cycling Centre. The variety of courses and race types made for some exciting action and kept the intrigue in most categories going until the finish of the final stage.
The under-16 girls’ category delivered the most exciting action of the weekend, keeping spectators on their toes on both days and reminding everyone just how exhilarating and capricious youth stage racing can be.
The time-trial saw the National Series leaders making a strong claim for the overall win, with Erin Boothman (East Kilbride RC) coming first, followed by Abigail Miller (Clifton CC) and Phoebe Taylor (ESV Manchester). Another favourite - Rebecca Gardiner (Lee Valley Youth CC) - suffered an unfortunate accident during the time-trial, but it didn't prevent her from winning the following stage and improving her position on the GC. Abigail Miller took the yellow jersey after the second stage.
Day two at Redbridge saw some incredibly combative and thrilling action in each stage. The first race of the day saw Meghan Cherry (Origin Race Team) going on an incredibly brave solo break. She managed to hold onto it until the end, besting the peloton by 25 seconds and getting the yellow jersey with a 12 second lead in GC.
In the final stage, Maia Howell from Matlock CC, who was placed outside of top-10 before the stage, blew away her rivals and went on a solo break toward the end of the stage. The pack couldn't organise the chase, and Howell arrived solo to the finish line with a staggering 45 seconds advantage over the field. That was enough to give her a 24 second lead in the GC and a sensational win in the event. Gardiner came second, and also won the points competition, with Miller concluding the podium.
Henry Hobbs (Welwyn Wheelers) clocked the fastest time at the time-trial but forgot to attach his timing chip for the race. After much deliberation, the commissaire team decided to hand out a timing penalty of 30 seconds, which dropped Henry to 74th position.
Luca Bednarek (Kirklees Cycling Academy) took the yellow jersey after the opening stage, with Max Hinds from Evolution Racing Academy snatching it after stage two following some close racing.
Two riders went toe-to-toe during the second day of racing, and Hinds held onto the overall win in the event with Bednarek finishing second on GC. Following his misfortunes in the opening stage, Hobbs mounted an incredible comeback, winning all three remaining stages with some extra bonus seconds earned in prime laps. That saw him jump from 74th to a final third place in the GC, also winning the points competition.
The riders will next compete in the eighth round of the Youth Circuit Series at the 360cycling North West Youth Tour on 26-28 August.
The opening time-trial stage saw Clifton CC rider Katie Robertson clock the fastest time, followed by Peggy Knox from Vicious Velo and Rose Lewis from Halesowen.
Melanie Rowe from Deeside Thistle really came through in the bunch races, finishing first in all three remaining stages. She was pushed closely by Grace Upshall from Poole Wheelers, whilst Katie Robertson also did her best to hold onto the GC podium.
Before the finish of the final stage, all three girls were placed within a second of each other in the GC standings. Rowe took the final sprint and the overall win with it as Upshall came second overall and took the green jersey of the points winner, while Robertson finished third.
Young riders from Wales had a strong showing in the under-14 boys, starting from the opening time-trial, won by Finlay Storrie (Maindy CC), followed by Deian Roberts (Rhyl CC) and Noah White (Mid Shropshire Wheelers). Race intrigue was kept alive in stage two by two riders from Mid Devon CC, who went on an impressive two-man breakaway toward the end of the race, giving the stage win to Jacob Start.
Finlay Storrie held on to the leader's yellow jersey after day one, and had an even stronger showing during day two at Redbridge when he won both stages and finished with a commanding lead on GC. His teammate from Maindy Flyers, Daniel David, finished second overall, while Noah White concluded the GC podium. William Coles from Evolution Racing Team won the points competition and was awarded the green jersey.
A big thank you to event organiser Alex Gitnik for helping with the report!
The eighth round will see riders compete at the 360cycling North West Tour on 26-28 August.