British Junior RR Championships
|Please take time out to back our "Keep Racing on the Roads" campaign to save Road racing by becoming a fan of our dedicated facebook page|
The 2010 British Junior Road Race Champion is Dan McLay of the Hargroves Cycles team who won an exciting race on a sporting course based around the town of Brecon in Wales. After 74 hilly miles in the Brecon's, the title was decided in a bunch kick between 20 or so riders with Owain Doull (Hargroves Cycles) second and Chris Nicholson (Isle of Man) third.
Photographic view of the race from start to finish with exclusive images of the attacks, the chases, the agony and the misfortunes. Thanks to Roy Gutteridge of the Welsh NEG.
With rain falling from time to time, the best Junior riders from around the country assembled at the Brecon Leisure Centre for the biggest race of the year, the race to see who wears the champion’s jersey.
After a gear check, they collected their race numbers and started their warm-up. This season has seen a number of riders like Tom Moses, Simon Yates and Joshua Edmondson stake their claim to be the best in Britain with victories in National Series events but that form guide went out the window for this Junior Championship.
It has been clear this year that there is plenty of strength in-depth within the Junior ranks and lady luck was certainly going to play a part in who crossed the line first as the course with plenty of downhill sections wasn’t looking as selective as many had thought. The riders assembled in the car park for the off and helping to keep them safe on the road was a large group of Welsh NEG marshals as well as many more qualified static marshals who have the power in Wales to stop traffic at intersections.
A crash in the first few miles ended the hopes of some of the riders.
There was no rolling road closure but the riders had plenty of tarmac to race on which began with a short neutralised section. Towards the end of that pre-race section, you could feel the tension as Zero kilometre approached with riders already flat out trying to stay in contact. Ahead of the riders were three separate large circuits with the final one containing the big climb, Defynnog, that many expected to be decisive.
It wasn’t long after the flag was pulled into the lead car that the first break lead by from Paul Young (Glendene CC) leapt clear. There was some quality in the break with Josh Cole (Sportscover), Tom Moses (Glendene CC), Simon Yates (Max Gear RT), and Chris Nicholson (Isle of Man) joining Young but with plenty of fresh legs behind, they were soon caught. As the junction was made, a counter attack came from Adam Yates (Max Gear RT) and he soloed up the road as the rest watched him go.
The nerves in the bunch were showing as a crash on the right of the peloton saw the riders move left to avoid those falling and as they did, more riders fell on the left of the group. For some of them, it was a ride in the ambulance and race over with barely five miles covered.
As Adam Yates rode tempo at the front on his own, two chasers launched themselves from the peloton, Jordan Hargreaves and Henry Newbury (Fareham Wheelers) and they were quickly followed by two more, Paul Young and Laurie Brooking (Herbalife/Wheelbase). These riders came together on the second of the circuits as first Hargeaves and Newbury caught Yates and then Young and Brooking made the junction to make five leaders.
Adam Yates leads the break with two more riders coming across to strengthen the leaders.
Behind them on the lower slopes of the long drag to the top of the hill on circuit two, attacks started to be launched but nothing was sticking and the peloton was all together at the feed zone. At the front, Hargreaves had disappeared from the leading group who were now four strong as they took the long descent towards Talgart.
Chasing them were four riders, George Moore (CC Giro), Lewis Balycki (Team Wallis CHH), Oliver Rossi (PCA Ciclos Uno) and Jonny Knox (Herbalife/Wheelbase) with a lone Chris Nicholson having seen the danger and doing a great job of crossing the gap. The two leading groups on the road soon came together to form a large break but they soon lost two riders in quick succession. First Henry Newbury was seemingly dropped up a rise and then pictured at a standstill putting his chain on.
Then, George Moore had a front wheel puncture and with the peloton as close to the leaders as they had been for a long while, Moore found himself in the peloton no sooner had the front wheel been changed. Moore’s CC Giro teammate meanwhile, Perry Bowater was giving it some at the front of the peloton along with Conor Dunne (Glendene CC) and soon a new chase group was formed with six or seven riders.
Tom Moses launches an attack to try and form a chase group in the second half of the race.
Other favourites like Tom Moses though were not able to escape the peloton and although the winner of the Cadence CC Junior RR earlier in the year did get clear of the bunch, his chase ended when he was caught at the bottom of the race’s big climb. At the front, the leaders still had a good gap on the chase group who despite shedding a few riders on the climb, did manage to claw their way across to the leaders on the descent.
Next to come into view on the Defynnog climb, which was said to be 18% in places, came the peloton and at the head of what was left of it was the KOM winner from a stage race in the Czech Republic and winner of the Isle of Man Youth tour, Joshua Edmonson (Motorpoint/Marshals Pasta). Many more of the favourites were coming to the fore now, Simon Yates, Alistair Slater, Dan Mclay, Robert Crampton, Luke Gray, and Owain Doull.
With Mclay’s group catching some of the chasers who had been dropped on the climb, the peloton by now was starting to split as the likes of Slater and McLay were giving it their all to get across to the leaders. The chase by the McLay group was not some organised set of riders swamping turns but rather a frantic, lined out group of riders with plenty of daylight between wheels behind a rampaging McLay.
Gray, Mclay and Doull draw away from the others in the chase group on the long descent to Breckon.
Some organisation to the chase did eventually come together when the three Hargroves Cycles riders started to swap turns at the front with daylight behind them as the rest gritted their teeth and gave it their all to remain in the game. McLay made the junction to the leaders first and as he did, there was an easing up which gave the rest of the riders from the chase group the chance to join the leaders.
One more climb was ahead of them and from the bottom, the attacks came. First Bowater and Rossi had a go and when they were pulled back, Doull then put his head down and launched himself forward with Rossi stuck to his wheel like glue.
As Doull and Rossie were caught, it was the turn of Dunne to switch to the other side of the road with his attack followed by Nicholson and as they tried to get away, the favourites looked at each other to see who was going to chase. Answer, Luke Gray it was who soon dragged them back and McLay was now at the front of the break trying to hold position.
Josh Edmonson then had a dig before the group turned left off the climb and onto the final run in to the finish. More attacks followed but no-one was able to get a gap and make it stick and it soon came down to a belting bunch kick where McLay was clearly the fastest as he crossed the line lengths clear of his teammate Doull with Nicholson inches behind in third.
McLay is an easy winner but the fight for the other medals is tight indeed between Doull and Nicholson.
Post Race Reactions
Dan McLay (Hargroves Cycles): “It is fantastic to win this. It was my last chance as I’ve ridden it three times and I knew this circuit was more favourable for me with only one real test in terms of climbing. I didn’t though expect to get up to that break so quickly.”
“We were going well up the final climb and we didn’t say we were going to ride for anyone in particular, we just rode flat out. It was what we had to do because not long before the climb, the gap was two minutes and I know on a loop like that some one who has been out there all day will tie up on those rolling roads. The strategy from the start was to wait because in other Buckley’s we’ve raced early on and been expected to do the chasing and other stuff so today we waited and gave it everything when I needed to and made it count.”
“When we caught them, there was some cat and mouse and I was watching those who were strong and Sam Harrison went real early which made it a bit more controlled. A bit before that there was some pushing and shoving but in the end it all played into my hands. It was great that Owain came second and Luke Gray did a real great job to help shut down the gaps.”
Owain Doull (Hargroves Cycles) “It split a bit over the final climb and a group formed and we all started working before a few started to sit on and it was only me, Dan and Luke Gray working mostly. After that it was a pretty manic sprint and it worked out alright. I knew in the sprint Dan could do his own thing so I just did my own thing and it worked out good. I have been bit worried how I’d be for this race. I had a nasty crash at Somerset and had two weeks off and got a kicking in the Isle of Man and then a kicking in the Czech Republic but been able to ride myself back into form.”
Owain Doull on the attack with Rossi on his wheel.
Asked whether his team were confident when on the last circuit with the break still two minutes ahead, he replied, “Don’t know really. We just rode to see what would happen. We thought we may as well race for first and not eighth and it panned out nice in the end. I won the Welsh champs and get to wear that jersey which is cool.”
Chris Nicholson (Isle of Man): “You could sense the nerves around you at the start because the National Champs tends to play out a bit differently. There are lots of strong riders in the junior category this year, you only have too look at the results they’re getting in continental races. Danny in Roubaix and Josh in the Czech Republic, it is a very competitive age group this year.”
“I saw the break go in the distance and got across on my own as I was feeling quite good. The gap kept getting bigger and I heard I had a teammate coming across in a chase group and most of the hitters had missed that as well. I felt it could be my day today and then with around 5k to go, I looked round and Dan and Sam and all them had got across.”
“Me and Simon Yates gave it a go with a couple of K to go but it wasn’t to be. There was a bit of bouncing off each other in the sprint but that’s what you expect coming in to the finish. Everyone knew Dan was the quickest and I was pleased to get a medal myself. I’m taking each race as it goes and trying to win a Buckley. In the medium term, I’d also like to get on the Academy and a ride in the Commonwealth Games.”
Sam Harrison (Planet-X): “I knew it was going to happen over Defynnog (last major climb) and I knew it was going to split. It is deceptive that climb because you tend to make up the ground on the flat bit across the top. People go early and then die across the top which is where Dan went and he smashed everyone to bits.”
“I felt like I crawled over Defynnog and had to dig real hard to get back on Dan’s wheel who was riding real strong. It was all down to Dan that we got across, he’s going really well. The strongest rider definitely won.”
“It was quite tactical up the dual carriageway (final long drag before the finish) and you had to play it clever, like you didn’t want to win which Dan did perfectly. In the sprint, I didn’t think it was going to be that fast so I opened it up with 400 to go and I was feeling alright until 150 to go when everyone came round me. Disappointed with that.”
On how he wasn’t his normally aggressive self we’ve seen in the rounds of the Junior RR Series, he says “I played a waiting game today. Without making any excuses, I have had flu all week so I knew I just had to sit in and make it as easy as I could for myself. There are a lot more riders in the junior category that can win races now. I think it would have been better if it had finished at the top of the drag because with a downhill finish, we were all spinning away (restricted gears). It was a good circuit though.”
Lewis Balyckyi (Team Wallis-CHH): The former leader of the national series explained that at the front, the break was okay. “Everyone was going quite well but there were a few who were sitting on which was a bit annoying. We just tried to ignore them and keep tapping through the best we could. We got to the last climb with a minute gap which was quite good and thought we have a good chance of staying away here. Within the last 5k, we looked behind and could see the Hargroves riders coming up and when they caught us, Dan McLay was properly on it.”
Final climb and Lewis leads the break on the steep slopes before a long descent to the finish.
“The bit on the bypass was pretty tough when a few were trying to get away and split it and then with 2k to go, it just went nuts, there were riders switching and when we got to the last straight, it was pretty much a drag race from the last bend. I was just a little too far back. I felt quite good at the front in the break, tapping through and eating lots of food and lots of gels and drink. Last week I was ill and I’m just getting over that and so to come here and finish eight, I’m pretty chuffed.”
Adam Yates (Maxgear RT): “A little break went up the road and didn’t get much time so I attacked and nobody came with me. I was on my own for quite a long time before two riders came across and then it was five and then seven. I am pretty ill at the moment so I wasn’t feeling that great but considering that, I was feeling alright on the climb. In the break, everyone was looking after each other on the climbs and then we’d press on for the descents. This course was quite easy and the only hard bit was the steep climb.”
Not only did he spend a long time on his own out front, Adam also stayed with the break to the finish, a super effort from the North West rider.
Race organizer, Chris Landon from Cadence Cycle Club would like to thank race sponsors, Pembrokeshire Bike Shop for providing goody bags, Cycling Weekly and Paligap for providing prizes and For Goodness Shakes and Bottle Sport for providing shakes and drinks bottles. He would also like to thank new race sponsor Bike Pure for providing wrist bands and spacers.
Sam Harrison, left, and Welsh Champion Owain Doull
1. Daniel McLay, Hargroves Cycles / Trant / Next / Scott / GSi
2. Owain Doull, Hargroves Cycles / Trant / Next / Scott / GSi
3. Chris Nicholson, Team Isle of Man
4. Simon Yates, Maxgear RT
5. Conor Dunne, Glendene CC
6. Oliver Rossi, PCA Ciclos Uno
7. Adam Yates, Maxgear RT
8. Lewis Balyckyi, Team Wallis - CHH
9. Perry Bowater, CC Giro
10. Joshua Edmonson, Motorpoint/Mashalls Pasta
11. Joe KellyTeam, Isle of Man
12. Laurie Brooking, Herbalife/Wheelbase
13. Alistair Slater, Bourne Wheelers
14. Matt Bailey, Team Kuota
15. Sam Harrison, Planet X Road CC
16. Jonny Knox, Herbalife/Wheelbase
17. Paul Young, Glendene CC
18. Luke Gray, Hargroves Cycles / Trant / Next / Scott / Gsi
19. Jack Penrice, Maxgear RT
20. Josh ColeTeam, Sportscover
21. Jack GreenVC, St Raphael
22. Josh Papworth, Cult Racing
23. Tom Stockdale, Team Qoroz
24. Matthew Holmes, Team Wallis - CHH
25. Robert Crampton, Wills Wheels
26. Kenta Gallagher, Scott UK
27. Chris Sherriffs, Team Wallis - CHH
28. Paul FostunLangdale, Lightweights RT
29. Hugo Humphreys, Mosquito Bikes RT
30. George Moore, CC Giro
31. Taylor Johnstone, Team De Ver
32. James Baillie, Sheffield Sports
33. Luke Grivell-Mellor, Mid Shropshire Wheelers
34. Matthew Hamilton, Team Leslie Bike Shop / Right Move Windows
35. Conor Ryan, VC Montpelier
36. Matthew Haase, VC St Raphael
37. James Smith, Dooleys Cycles RT
38. Andrew Brind-Surch, VC St Raphael
39. Tom Moses, Glendene CC
40. Jack Cousins, Wills Wheels
41. Declan Byrne, Brookes Cycles
42. Owen Lake, Cambridge CC
43. Tom Neale, Inverse Racing / Bikefood
44. hJames Lowsley-Williams, AgiscoViner
45. Mike Gregg, Team Probikekit.com
46. Jack Waller, Team Corley Cycles - Cervelo - Alpha RC
47. Matthew Myers, Twickenham CC
48. Andy Hargroves, Hargroves Cycles / Trant / Next / Scott / GSi
49. Brennan Townshend, Mid Devon CC
50. Martin Woffindin, SportCity Velo
51. Steven James, Pedalon.co.uk
52. Grant Ferguson, Dooleys Cycles RT
53. Tom Mazzone, Team Isle of Man
54. Finlay Young, Equipe Velo Ecosse / Montpelliers
55. Sam Connolley, Maldon & District CC
56. Nicholas Avery, Mid Devon CC
57. Rupert Denny, Team Nemesis GB
58. Max Webber, DHCyclesport.co.uk/Colnago
59. Jim Lewis, Glendene CC
60. Bradley Burbridge, Cyclingbargains.com - Infinis RT
61. Jake Martin, One Life Development Squad
62. Alex Palentides, Twickenham CC
63. Joe Charley, Wolverhampton Wheelers
64. Luke Cornish, Cwmcarn Paragon RC
65. James Dunlop, Herbalife/Wheelbase
66. Ben Kellett, VS Cycles
67. George Pearl, Southend Wheelers
1. Owain Doull, Hargroves Cycles
2. Sam Harrison, Planet X
3. Matthew Haase, VC St Raphael
2009: 1. George Atkins, 2. Tim Kennaugh, 3. Joe Perrett
2008: 1. Erick Rowsell, 2. Andrew Fenn, 3. Alexander King
2007: 1. Peter Kennaugh, 2. Johnny McEvoy, 3. Erick Rowsell
2006: 1. Russell Hampton; 2. Jonathon McEvoy, 3. Peter Kennaugh
2005: 1. Adam Norris; 2. Richard Hepworth; 3. Lewis Atkins
2004: 1. Daniel Martin; 2. Andrew Hill; 3. Ian Stannard
2003: 1. Matt Brammeier; 2. Mark Cavendish; 3. Geraint Thomas
2002: 1. Stefan Wilson ; 2. Ritchie Bowen, 3. Craig Cooke
2001: 1. Peter Johnson; 2. Keiran Page 3. Graham Briggs
2000: 1. Keirin Page; 2. M Baker; 3. O Wallace
1999: Steve Cummings
1998: Yanto Barker
1997: P. Kay
1996: G. Sellen
1995: G. Sellen
1994: Huw Pritchard
1993: James. Taylor