Tyler Hannay, Utmost IOM Junior Cycling Team, put his disappointments of the Tour of Mendips race behind him to claim the prestigious Junior Tour of Wales on Bank Holiday Monday on the top of the iconic Tumble climb.
Two years after the last instalment and with the race being shortened to four stages from five, it was inevitable that the final 7km climb up the Tumble Mountain would prove to be decisive, and it didn’t disappoint.
As the leaders approached the final ascent and with the peloton strung out along the dual carriageway behind, it was Lucas Towers, Cero ‐ Cycle Division Racing Team that took the initiative. He attacked at the foot of the climb from the lead group of 8 riders, taking with him fellow teammate Jack Brough, winner of the Cadence RR earlier in the series, and eventual overall GC winner Hannay.
Towers finished the stage off in style, waiting until the pre-planned cattle grid point on the climb to attack before cresting the summit just ahead of Hannay and 22 seconds ahead of third placed Lukas Nerurkar, VC Londres. Teammate Jack Brough crossed the line 27 seconds down on Towers but along with James Satoor made it success weekend for the Cero ‐ Cycle Division Racing Team taking the overall the team award.
That 27 seconds between Hannay and Brough also proved to be the time difference between the two on the General Classification with the Isle of Man rider taking the overall win, with Towers third on the podium and Nerurkar 4th, 53 seconds further back.
It was not to be for Wales’ Joshua Tarling, after spending 2 days in the blue and 1 day in the yellow jerseys despite not feeling great all weekend he would eventually roll in 4:44 down on Towers’s time, slipping to 14th in the General Classification after briefly dropping off the back off the bunch and losing time due to sickness.
Hannay’s victory comes a huge consolation after leading the GC at the Tour of Mendips two weeks earlier only to suffer a puncture and then was hit from behind whilst changing his wheel. He never regained contact with the peloton and despite a courageous final stage it was one race that slipped from his grasp.
The Junior Tour of Wales began with the traditional short, demanding time trial stage incorporating the ‘other’ side of The Tumble mountain. British road race champion Max Poole, going off last in the field, finished clear of everyone posting a time of 12:06.16 for the 7.55km course. Fellow Fensham Howes - MAS Design teammate and National Time Trail Champion, Finlay Pickering came in second 13 seconds down with Tyler Hannay and Josh Tarling just a second further back.
Stage 2 saw Griff Lewis, Wales, out sprint Zachary Walker, Utmost IOM Junior Cycling Team and William Smith, Central Division to take the stage victory in a fractious race around the Pembrey National Circuit. A big crash after only 6 laps of the 25 saw Stage 1’s KOM winner and Polka Dot jersey, Cameron Brown of the Spokes Race Team, leave the race with a potential fractured elbow. After a short delay racing resumed, several attempts were made to get away until, in the latter stages, the three riders managed to open a gap of 20 seconds and would stay away to sprint for the podium places.
Stage 3 saw the race head out of Pembrey to the village of Nantgaredig, two pre-race favourites for the overall GC Josh Charlton, Fensham Howes - MAS Design and Josh Tarling, Wales, both gold medallists at the recent European Track championships, took ten seconds out of their rivals in a sprint out over the final 1km but another bunch sprint for third kept the GC close with Dylan Hicks, South East taking it on the line ahead of Kieran Riley, Scotland.