Charlie Quarterman (Zappi’s RT) won stage two of the Sleepwell Hotels Isle of Man Junior Tour on Saturday – and with it took the overall lead in the three-day event which forms part of the British Cycling National Junior Road Series.
If the weather for the opening Prologue had been glorious – if a little nippy – Saturday dawned grey and damp – and worse was forecast for later in the day.
Some riders seemed to decide that the relatively mild start to the day was set to continue and set off unprepared for the howling gale and driving rain that would roll in after the first of 11 and a half laps – and get worse in the closing stages.
The first break came on the run-in to the first of 12 times up the finishing climb. By the end of the first full lap, the decisive move of the race had formed with Charlie Quarterman of Zappi’s Racing Team, Robert Scott of VCUK PH-MAS, Robert Hogg of Corley Cycles, Joey Walker of RST Racing and Tom England – with Matthew Clements of Catford CC chasing hard to join them.
Clements didn’t manage to bridge across but while chaos – not just the weather, but a spate of broken chains and so many punctures that the neutral service vehicles briefly ran out of wheels – reigned around them, the leaders serenely extended their lead from 35 seconds to three and a half minutes with two laps to go.
With four laps to go Quarterman attacked and started to pull out a lead on the rest of the break away. His four former companions stayed together for the next couple of laps, but the writing was on the wall.
At the bell, the remainder of the lead group was breaking apart as the weather worsened. England was now off the back of the lead group and his reward for helping to kick it off would be a damp, dishevelled 33rd – but Quarterman was away – taking almost two minutes in the run-up to the bell.
Gabriel Evans of Catford CC came through to cut that lead to just over a minute – taking second just ahead of Velocity Globalbike’s Peter Kibble with Evans’ team mate Louis Modell taking fourth – 13 seconds behind Quarterman. Walker and Hogg were the other members of the original break to make the top 10 – either side of Velocity Globalbike’s Reece Wood in fifth and seventh.
The win puts Quarterman in yellow going in to the final stage with a 78 second lead over Evans. Kibble’s in third just two seconds back with Walker, Wood and Hogg the other riders within two minutes of the leader.
Prologue winner Joe Holt of County Cycles - who had the tough day he predicted – led the peloton home in 12th and dropped to 11th overall, just over five minutes down on the leader.
The weather claimed no fewer than 27 victims who were all placed 49th – a minute behind the last finisher – Harry French of Cycle Sport Pendle – and 47 minutes and 25 seconds down on the leader - but will be allowed to start tomorrow’s final stage in Ramsey.
New yellow jersey holder Quarterman spoke to British Cycling after the stage: “It was pretty horrible today. We all finished with numb hands and fingers but it always seems better when you’re riding well. I only really realised how cold I was once I finished.”
And speaking about how the break came together, he added: “I saw two riders go up the road early on and surprisingly they were just let go, so after 5km of the race I attacked and formed a chasing group, which worked well together. It was a relief when we caught the leaders!
“I looked around me and saw that we had some strong sprinters in the group so with 30km to go, when I could see the others swinging on the climb I just gave it a bit of a push and to my surprise I pulled away. It was never the plan to go that early.”
And how hard will it be to defend the jersey? “I'm not expecting it to be anything like easy but we've got a good old team spirit here and I think if it's ever getting tight they'll be more than happy to help out. We'll see how it goes.”
1 Charlie Quarterman Zappi's Racing Team 2:58:38
2 Gabriel Evans Catford CC Equipe/Banks at 1:12
3 Peter Kibble Velocity Globalbike at 1:13
4 Louis Modell Catford CC Equipe/Banks at 1:21
5 Joey Walker RST Racing Team at 1:27
6 Reece Wood Velocity Globalbike at 1:30
7 Robert Hogg Corley Cycles - Drops RT at 1:36
8 Etienne Georgi Giant Cycling Club - Halo Films at 2:54
9 Robert Scott VCUK PH-MAS Junior Cycling Team at 4:22
10 Rick De Vries Monkeytown - Sleepwell Hotels at 4:49
General Classification (after stage one):
1 Charlie Quarterman Zappi's Racing Team 3:00:15
2 Gabriel Evans Catford CC Equipe/Banks at 1:18
3 Peter Kibble Velocity Globalbike at 1:20
4 Louis Modell Catford CC Equipe/Banks at 1:31
5 Joey Walker RST Racing Team at 1:34
6 Reece Wood Velocity Globalbike at 1:39
7 Robert Hogg Corley Cycles - Drops RT at 1:46
8 Etienne Georgi Giant Cycling Club - Halo Films at 3:04
9 Robert Scott VCUK PH-MAS Junior Cycling Team at 4:31
10 Ethan Hayter VC Londres at 5:05