Sam Watson sprinted to victory at Pembrey as both he and James Harrison celebrated stage victories in the Junior Tour of Wales.
The third stage was designed to be fast and bring out the best of the riders' handling abilities and Pembrey National Circuit didn’t fail to deliver with the 97 riders remaining in the race averaging 46.08km/h around the twisting tight circuit.
A race full of attacking saw a group of six riders break clear after seven laps, at one point opening up a 50 second gap on the main group.
Six became four with eight laps to go as Watson, Fensham Howes - MAS Design, Max Walker, Equiom IOM Junior Cycling Team, James Harrison, Manx Viking Wheelers CC and Joe Wilson, Team Ribble continued to push on and, although the peloton managed to eventually close the gap to 20 seconds, the breakaway proved to strong.
The stage came down to a four-up sprint with Watson proving strongest to repeat his stage victory from the previous year’s competition.
Walker took second with Harrison third and Wilson fourth. Lewis Askey retained the yellow jersey despite finishing 25 seconds behind Watson.
Harrison leaves it late to make his move
Following quickly on was stage four, with James Harrison, Manx Viking Wheelers CC leaving his stage winning move to the last 7km, timing his attack to perfection.
Harrison bridged across to the longtime breakaway lead group with half a lap to go before breaking away and holding off the challenge of the morning’s stage winner, Sam Watson, in a sprint for the line.
Watson, going for consecutive stage wins, was one of six riders that formed an early breakaway that lasted for much of the race.
Attacks started from the get go with several riders jumping off the front only to be pulled back pretty quickly by the bunch. The first notable move of the afternoon came from Ethan Browne, The Bulls, Dominic Pullen, Propello and Oscar Nilsson‐Julien, VC Londres at one point gaining 20 seconds on the main group only to be reeled back in as the race headed to Carmarthen.
Race leader Lewis Askey went on the attack but was soon chased down when the peloton saw the yellow jersey riding away.
The decisive break came as the rest neared Capel Dewi, a quarter of the way into the stage. 6 riders including Oliver Rees, HMT Hospitals Giant Cycling Team, Matthew Kingston, RST/Cycle Division Racing Team, Alfred George, Discovery Junior Cycling Club, Watson, Fensham Howes ‐ MAS Design and Jack Rootkin‐Gray, Solihull CC jumped off the front of the peloton and started to put some distance into the chasing group.
Leo Hayter, VC Londres soon bridged across to join the group as one rider was dropped off the back. The group increased the gap to 30 seconds on the bunch as the race passed Dryslwyn Castle for the final time when James Harrison and Issac Peatfield of Green Jersey RT, bridged across to join the leaders.
With the race nearing its conclusion and with the peloton starting to gain ground Kingston made a break for it soon followed by Watson and Harrison. With road running out for the chasers and with a slim advantage, the leaders turned into Nantgaredig and began to wind up the sprint to the line.
Harrison crossed the line less than a bike length ahead of Watson, by now starting to feel the effects of being in the break for 75km, with Kingston and and chasing Peatfield in third and fourth respectively.
Askey remains in the yellow Jersey going into Monday’s final stage but only by seven seconds from George Mills-Keeling, Cycle Club Bridgnorth RWG in second.