James Shaw takes mountains jersey on stage one of Course de la Paix Juniors

James Shaw takes mountains jersey on stage one of Course de la Paix Juniors

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Great Britain’s James Shaw took the King of the Mountains jersey on stage one of the Course de la Paix Juniors race in the Czech Republic.

The race is the third of the Great Britain squad's UCI Nations’ Cup Junior targets, contested over four days and five stages in the Bohemia region of the country.

The opening salvo of ‘The Peace Race’ began with a hilly 98.7km stage starting and finishing in Litomerice featuring two categorised climbs near Murakov.

Shaw, current leader of the British Cycling Junior Road Series, took the advantage of the first of the day’s KoM points at Murakov and backed it up with second place on the other KoM, meaning that he will carry the jersey into the next hilly stage on Saturday.

It was however a day of mixed fortunes for the rest of the six-man squad with Gabriel Cullaigh crashing twice early on. After his first fall, Cullaigh faced a 15km chase back on only to get caught in a crash at the back of the bunch moments later, ending his chances of a competitive ride.

Matt Gibson crashed too but re-joined to contest the sprint, finishing eighth. Joe Evans also crashed but recovered to help Gibson in the final. Gibson's result left him highest placed on general classification, in 12th.

"It was an up-and-down day,” said coach Matt Winston. “We rolled away and three-kilometres in Gabriel Cullaigh crashed quite hard, his third crash in ten days, having crashed in Croatia and the Isle of Man.”

"It took him a while to get going by the time he'd got his chain back on and sorted him out. Had a big old chase for about 15-kilometres to get back in and as soon as he got back in there was another big crash in front of him at the back of the peloton and he came down again.

"We got him up, got him going again right at the back of the race and then we rolled over the first KoM with him still out the back.”

However Shaw’s victory on the first climb and second place on the next put the Great Britain squad’s plan back on track, with the mountains jersey a specific stage objective.

“We were targetting the mountains category for James today and the green jersey for Gabriel but obviously after his two crashes that went out the window,” said Winston.

“We've ticked one of the stage objectives for sure there now we need to look at how we keep hold of that jersey."

Day two is a split stage, with a 12-kilometre individual time trial in the morning and a short 63-kilometre road stage in the afternoon and for each, Winston has specific developmental targets for his Olympic Development Programme squad.

“The focus for tomorrow will be the time trial,” said Winston. “I want to see where the lads are on that. Hopefully we'll get some decent times there. It would be good to put a couple of guys in the top twenty.

"On the afternoon stage we'll practice riding as a team. Not too worried about what the end result is, but want to see the guys get together, take up the race and see if we can do a bit a lead-out tomorrow, see how that unfolds."



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