Ethan Hayter of VC Londres battled appalling conditions to win the Cadence Junior Road Race in Powys on Sunday.
With races elsewhere in Wales cancelled due to forecast gales and torrential rain, the traditional opening round of the British Cycling Junior Road Race Series – the Cadence Junior Race - set off from Three Cocks on the edge of the Brecon Beacons in near-gale force winds and torrential rain.
The weather undoubtedly had an impact on the race overall – with the rain persisting for around half of the 63 miles and the gusty winds a factor until the end – but other than one crash early on which brought the whole field to a halt and a couple of minor incidents it was mostly the energy sapping nature of the conditions that played its part.
It was difficult for anyone to slip away early on with Kieran Simcox of Bikebox Alan/Envelopemaster an early attacker on the initial approach to the climb of Dderw Pitch but the race quickly came back together.
The first serious break came just before half distance with Gabriel Evans of Catford CC breaking clear. His lead ebbed and flowed but after extending to just over a minute it started to come back down as Robert Scott of VC UK PH-Mas and Robert Hogg of Corley Cycles – still bearing the scars of an earlier crash – started to chase him down.
After just over two laps clear the chasers caught the leader and as they passed the bell at the top of the climb the trio were fast losing their advantage over the remains of the chasing group. Just 24 seconds separated them from Joe Holt of County Cycles, Ethan Hayter of VC Londres and Joseph Fry of RST Racing Team with the rest of the leaders 20 seconds behind them.
The front of the race came back together in the last lap and as they crossed the roundabout at the base of the climb for the last time it was Hayter who took the initiative and broke for the line. By the top he was 14 seconds clear of Holt with Hogg just behind in third.
Speaking to British Cycling after the race, Hayter summed up the conditions – “It was quick and really windy. I sat in for the first half of the race and kept myself up towards the front and tried a couple of moves which didn’t always work.
“I was slightly off the front when I went up the hill three or four times and I followed [the leaders] and we stayed in touch.
“They were flying and I was hanging on - doing short turns - and when caught the three off the front it got a bit cagey - rolling through a bit, making sure we weren’t caught by the bunch.
“At the start of the finish section they were looking around a bit and I just went. I wasn’t sure I would be able to go with any accelerations but they didn’t chase and by the time they did...
Was it a bit miserable in the early stages? “Yes, but it wasn’t awful. There was a crash that was right aross the road and someone clipped my front wheel and I lost a couple of spokes - so I had to get that changed too!”
1. Ethan Hayter (VC Londres)
2. Joe Holt (County Cycles RT)
3. Robert. Hogg (Team Corley Cycles)
4. Joseph Fry (RST RT)
5. Robert Scott (VCUK PH-MAS)
6. Gabriel Evans (Catford CC-Equipe)
7. Timothy (Home (NRG Godleys RT)
8. Chris Jackson (Strada Sport)
9. David Barnes (Team Corley Cycles)
10. Owen Dudley (Team Isle of Man)