Matt Bostock was Great Britain’s highest-placed finisher in 29th position at Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix Juniors, the opening race of the UCI Juniors Nations’ Cup.
The 16-year-old crossed the line at Roubaix velodrome in a group of seven, three minutes and twelve seconds back from Danish winner Magnus Bak Klaris in a puncture-filled race for British riders.
The 110.8-kilometre parcours saw the peloton take on 16 cobbled sections used in the pro race, including two category-five sections - Mons-en-Pévèle and Carrefour de l’Arbre.
A six-strong Great Britain team saw their hopes dashed by a series of punctures.
James Shaw, winner of the opening two races in the British Cycling Junior Road Series, was forced to abandon after three punctures, the last of which caused him to crash.
Like Shaw, Joe Evans punctured in the second section of pave from Warlaing to Brillon and in the following Tilloy Sars et Rosières suffered a second puncture that all but ended his race.
The bad luck continued when the same fate struck Gabriel Cullaigh while riding in the front group on the Carrefour de l’Arbre, the 13th section. Cullaigh fought back to finish 39th, five minutes and 30 seconds back from winner Klaris.
The incidents left Bostock and Gibson to battle on despite the numerical disadvantage, Bostock completing the parcours one minute and 48 seconds ahead of his teammate.
Although a tough day, coach Matt Winston said the experience provided lessons for Great Britain’s Olympic Development Programme riders.
“We had a fair bit of bad luck, you can’t help puncturing,” Winston said.
“You’ve got to look at the positives, it’s about learning these lessons in these races. For instance, in a chaotic, frantic race everyone took a musette in the feed zone and we only had one crash, less than a lot of the other nations.
“Everyone’s disappointed, they wanted to do well. We look forward now; we have seven days back in Newport for a training camp.”
Great Britain return to UCI Juniors Nations’ Cup action in the Tour of Istria in Croatia on 25-27 April before the Course de la Paix in the Czech Republic from 8-11 May.
1. Magnus Bak Klaris (Denmark) 2:52:46
2. Casper Pedersen (Denmark)
3. Enzo Wouters (Belgium)
29. Matt Bostock (Great Britain)
38. Matt Gibson (Great Britain)
39. Gabriel Cullaigh (Great Britain)
DNF Joe Holt (Great Britain)
DNF Joe Evans (Great Britain)
DNF James Shaw (Great Britain)