Victory on stage two of the Sleepwell Hotels Isle of Man Junior Tour went to Gijs Meijer, who sprinted home at the end of a tough stage covering 11 laps of a circuit near Peel.
Riding for Sleepwell Hotels-Monkeytown Cycling Team, Meijer’s win boosts his hopes of overall victory in the fourth stage of the British Cycling Junior Road Series.
Dark skies and the odd spot of rain do not, thankfully, turn in to the torrential rain that added an additional – and largely unwelcome - challenge to last year’s second stage of the Sleepwell Hotels Isle of Man Junior Tour. In fact, the whole stage was ridden in sunshine, with temperatures rising steadily over the 11 laps of the Switchback circuit at Peel.
For the first lap the peloton stayed together, but the first break of the day came shortly afterwards with Jamie Ridehalgh of Speedflex Racing Team and Grant Martin of Spokes Racing Team taking the initiative. They had a 15-second gap at one point, but it didn’t last to the end of the lap.
The next split was bigger and involved 10 riders from as many different teams. They pulled out 30 seconds, but the result was the same – the peloton was back together before the end of the lap.
In the middle of the main bunch Ridehalgh and Joshua Roberts of Zappi’s Racing Team came together and, while Roberts was able to re-join the bunch, Ridehalgh came down hard and would play no further part.
A strong solo break followed with Charlie Meredith of Giant Cycling Club-Halo Films pulling out a 40-second lead with seven laps to go. He held that gap for more than a lap – although the gap was now to Martin, Tom Chandler of VCUK PH-MAS Cycling Team and Billy Robinson of Squadra RT who had a further 10 seconds on a main bunch much diminished by the pace of the race.
Stage two gallery
A lap later and the gap was under 20 seconds and the bunch inevitably came together again until two laps from the finish when what would prove to be the stage’s decisive move unfolded.
First, Gijs Meijer of Sleepwell Hotels Monkeytown Cycling broke away on his own. Fred Wright of VC Londres and Jake Stewart from Swinnerton Cycles set off to bridge the gap and, by the end of the lap, Meijer was 10 seconds clear of Wright and Stewart with the chasers a further 40 seconds back.
Wright led the trio over the line at the bell with the peloton still over 20 seconds adrift. The trio stayed away for the final lap and on the final section of the climb it was Stewart who cracked first – with Meijer pulling away from Wright in the last 25 metres to take the stage win.
Although the two were given the same time, Meijer picked up a 10-second bonus for the win, with Wright taking seven. Stewart finished 18 seconds back but picked up a five second bonus while Thomas Pidcock of VCUK and Tim James of Catford CC Equipe/Banks burst off the front of the bunch to gain three seconds on the clock and three and two seconds of bonuses respectively.
The last of the time bonuses went to Peter Kibble of Velocity Speedflex who picked up a single second to separate him from the rest of his group of five riders 44 seconds down on the winner.
Overall, Wright’s second place in the Prologue meant that he now leads overall – but Meijer’s time bonus cancelled out his three second time trial deficit, leaving the two riders tied on time.
Stewart is third, 27 seconds behind the leader, with Pidcock in fourth 18 seconds further back.
Charlie Meredith’s long solo breakaway sees him top the Points classification by four point from Charlie Quarterman of Zappi’s Racing Team with Wright in third, three points behind, and Stewart fourth, a point being the Yellow Jersey.
Afterwards, Meijer reflected: “I knew it would be very tough for me because I’m pretty heavy and the climb is really tough. With two laps to go I drove away from the peloton on my own and with one lap to go two other guys joined me.
"I was pretty tired, so I rested a bit and I was able to finish it at the end – so I’m pretty happy now.
“I want to thank my team mates for slowing down the peloton because without them I think I wouldn’t have made it.”
Wright also reflected on the tough stage: “It was on and off with lots of attacks and then it would calm down a bit and.
“To be honest, the Dutch guy that won it got away and the bunch just sat around and it ended up with me and Jake rolling off rather than going for a big, flat-out effort – and then we looked back and we’d got the gap.
“We joined the leader and then got a decent gap – it got to around a minute and a half at one point which was pretty pleasing – and then I just ran out of legs on that last little bit at the top.”
Stage two result:
1 Gijs Meijer Sleepwell Hotels Monkeytown Cycling Team 2:41:56 10 second bonus
2 Fred Wright VC Londres same time 7 second bonus
3 Jake Stewart Swinnerton Cycles @ 18 seconds 5 second bonus
4 Thomas Pidcock VCUK PH-MAS Cycling Team @41 seconds 3 second bonus
5 Tim James Catford CC Equipe/Banks same time 2 second bonus
6 Peter Kibble Velocity-Speedflex @ 44 seconds 1 second bonus
7 Georg Mew Jensen VC Londres same time
8 Adam Hartley VCUK PH-MAS Cycling Team st
9 Harry Yates Hargroves Cycles - Ridley RT st
10 Tom Chandler VCUK PH-MAS Cycling Team st
1 Fred Wright VC Londres 2:35:39
2 Gijs Meijer Sleepwell Hotels Monkeytown Cycling Team 2:35:39
3 Jake Stewart Swinnerton Cycles 2:36:06
4 Thomas Pidcock VCUK PH-MAS Cycling Team 2:36:24
5 Adam Hartley VCUK PH-MAS Cycling Team 2:36:33
6 Tim James Catford CC Equipe/Banks 2:36:33
7 Harry Yates Hargroves Cycles - Ridley RT 2:36:35
8 Peter Kibble Velocity-Speedflex 2:36:35
9 Georg Mew Jensen VC Londres 2:36:36
10 Tom Chandler VCUK PH-MAS Cycling Team 2:36:37
1 Charlie Meredith 64 Giant Cycling Club - Halo Films 13 points
2 Charlie Quarterman 54 Zappis Racing Team 9
3 Fred Wright 41 VC Londres 6
4 Jake Stewart 43 Swinnerton Cycles 5
5 Gijs Meijer 6 Sleepwell Hotels Monkeytown Cycling 4
6 Georg Mew Jensen 38 VC Londres 4
7 Peter Kibble 51 Velocity-Speedflex 3
8 Timothy Jones 34 Spokes Racing Team
9 Owen Dudley 1 Isle of Man 3
10 Robert Scott 49 VCUK PH-MAS Cycling Team 3