Fred Wright (VC Londres) was crowned overall winner of the Sleepwell Hotels Isle of Man Junior Tour, while Robert Scott (VCUK PH-MAS) took victory in the final stage of the event, which was round four of the British Cycling Junior Road Series.
Both Scott’s final stage win, and Wright’s overall honours, proved a thrilling finale to an event which provided challenging terrain as well as challenging conditions.
For over a week the weather forecast was for heavy rain and gale force winds – and after the good weather for the prologue and opening stage more than a few riders were hoping that they would get lucky. The weather forecast was spot on.
The race rolled out from Ramsey Rugby Club and onto the circuit and quickly discovered the only upside to the conditions as a tailwind blew them up the only significant climb on the course. Everywhere else on the course it was a headwind or a crosswind – or a crosswind that felt more like a headwind.
The conditions made it almost impossible for anyone to get away and stay away and, although there were plenty of attempts in the early stages it was attrition more than ambition that determined the result as the stronger riders stuck together as the race was decimated behind them.
Stage three gallery
The final break of a dozen riders that formed around half distance resolved to make it to the end and rode away from the remnants of the race. There was action in the break but, until the closing stages none of it achieved very much.
On the final lap, prologue winner Rob Scott of VCUK PH-MAS Cycling Team got a gap and managed to hold it as they turned off the circuit and on to the promenade. Fred Wright of VC Londres – in yellow at the start of the stage but tied with leader Gijs Meijer of Sleepwell Hotels-Monkeytown – was in the break; Meijer wasn’t.
Others might have wanted to try to snatch the stage from Scott, but Wright wasn’t going to help them and – despite a belated effort on the run-in to the line, Scott took the stage win by seven seconds.
Wright finished seventh in the sprint – led home by Jake Stewart of Swinnerton Cycles and Marcus Burnett of DFL In-Gear Development – but that was more than enough to secure the overall win by 20 seconds from Stewart. Scott’s win was enough to lift him into third overall.
Burnett’s team-mate Theo Hartley topped the points in the final stage – two points ahead of Matthias Barnet of Spokes Racing Team and three ahead of Stewart. That was enough to lift Stewart to second but Charlie Meredith of Giant Cycling Club-Halo Films had a big enough haul from his stage two break away to clinch the green jersey.
Scott’s stage wins and solid performances from Adam Hartley and Thomas Pidcock secured the Team Classification.
Stage winner Rob Scott spoke to British Cycling after the race. “A breakaway went on lap two and Giant-Halo didn’t have any riders in so Etienne [Georgi] and Charlie [Meredith – the Green Jersey holder] were chasing like mad but they sat up, and as they did I bridged across to the break.
“We all started working and it hovered around 40 seconds, and then suddenly it went up to a minute and a half so we were all working well together. Then on the last lap people started watching each other and I just decided to go and see if I could hold them off.
“I went with about two miles to go to the finish and held them off. It was hard – very hard – one of the hardest efforts I’ve done this year. - stage winner Robert Scott.
Overall winner Fred Wright was in jubilant mood: “It’s pretty amazing to be honest. I felt quite lucky - I got in the first break of the day with about 50km to go and it stuck. I was quite surprised that I managed to be in that breakaway.
“I thought it would be a race where we, as a team, would be chasing down everything and keep it all together and then I’d have to beat the Dutch guy [Meijer] in the sprint but at the end of the day we just kind of rode away from it. And George Jensen did a really good job of controlling the bunch because all I had to do was get a time gap on the Dutch guy and I’d do it – and that’s how it ended up.
“I did quite a lot of work at the front towards the end because Rob Scott attacked – I knew I didn’t need to win the sprint but to make sure that everything was close enough that I’d still get it.
“It was a really, really hard race – really horrible in that weather. It felt like most of the course was a headwind - overall winner Fred Wright
And the race as a whole? “It’s been great – I still can’t believe that I’ve done it. I wasn’t expecting it, to be honest – it’s incredible!”
Stage Three Result
1 Robert Scott VCUK PH-MAS Cycling Team 2:19:49 10 bonus seconds
2 Jake Stewart Swinnerton Cycles @ 7 seconds 7 bonus seconds
3 Marcus Burnett DFL In-Gear Development same time 5 bonus seconds
4 Owen Dudley Isle of Man st 3 bonus seconds
5 Adam Hartley VCUK PH-MAS Cycling Team st 2 bonus seconds
6 Matthew Walls Velocity-Speedflex st 1 bonus second
7 Fred Wright VC Londres st
7 Peter Kibble Velocity-Speedflex st
9 Grant Martin Spokes Racing Team @ 10 seconds
10 Billy Robinson Squadra RT @ 11
1 Theo Hartley DFL In Gear Development 9 points
2 Matthias Barnet Spokes Racing Team 7
3 Jake Stewart Swinnerton Cycles 6
4 Fred Wright VC Londres 3
5 Marcus Burnett DFL In Gear Development 2
6 Robert Scott VCUK PH-MAS Cycling Team 1
= Adam Hartley VCUK PH-MAS Cycling Team 1
= Grant Martin Spokes Racing Team 1
1 Fred Wright VC Londres 5:03:28
2 Jake Stewart Swinnerton Cycles @ 20 seconds
3 Robert Scott VCUK PH-MAS Cycling Team @ 48
4 Adam Hartley VCUK PH-MAS Cycling Team @ 52
5 Peter Kibble Velocity-Speedflex @ 56
6 Grant Martin Spokes Racing Team @ 1:03
7 Ben Hardy Windmill Wheels Cycling Club @ 1:06
8 Matthew Walls Velocity-Speedflex @ 1:10
9 Billy Robinson Squadra RT @ 1:15
10 Etienne Georgi Giant Cycling Club - Halo Films @ 2:45
1 Charlie Meredith Giant Cycling Club - Halo Films 13
2 Jake Stewart Swinnerton Cycles 11
3 Fred Wright VC Londres 9
4 Matthias Barnet Spokes Racing Team 9
5 Theo Hartley DFL In Gear Development 9
6 Robert Scott VCUK PH-MAS Cycling Team 4
7 Georg Mew Jensen VC Londres 4
8 Peter Kibble Velocity-Speedflex 3
9 Timothy Jones Spokes Racing Team 3
10 Owen Dudley Isle of Man 3
1 VCUK PH-MAS Cycling Team 15:15:02
(Robert Scott, Adam Hartley, Thomas Pidcock)
2 Velocity-Speedflex 15:16:00
(Peter Kibble, Matthew Walls, Conor Davies)
3 VC Londres 15:18:03
(Fred Wright, Georg Mew Jensen, Jacob Vaughan)
4 Sleepwell Hotels Monkeytown Cycling Team 15:24:56
5 Spokes Racing Team 15:36:58
6 Catford CC Equipe/Banks 16:02:50
7 Salt Ayre Cog Set 16:58:09
8 Zappis Racing Team 17:10:05
9 Identity Race Team 17:25:24
10 DFL In-Gear Development 18:15:08