Zoe Backstedt produced a storming display to claim victory in the Riviera Youth Classic as the British Cycling Youth Circuit Series in Torquay.
Kicking off the day’s proceedings in the opening round of the British Cycling Youth Circuit Series, the Under-14 girls headed out along the seafront.
Backstedt, of Maindy Flyers, set off at a slightly higher pace than the rest of the field and had a lead before the first hairpin – and watching them take that first corner as she exited, that was pretty much all she saw of her competitors until she started lapping riders.
By the time she crossed the finish line an hour and ten minutes later, she was over three minutes clear of the chasing bunch but it was last year’s series winner Imani Pereira-James, of East Kilbride Road Club, who rode clear to take second.
The 2017 runner-up Grace Lister, of Wolverhampton Wheelers, was close behind in third.
Partridge takes flight
The under-14 boys’ race couldn’t have been more different.
As the race entered the closing stages, 32 of the original 63 starters were still together, although Jamie Whitcher of Poole Wheelers did his best to emulate Backstedt’s start, pulling out a couple of bike lengths by the first turn.
He couldn’t get away entirely though and settled in to taking long turns on the front, sharing the load with Joshua Tarling, of West Wales Cycle Racing Team, as the lead group was stretched into a long line for much of the race.
Hetton Hawks Cycling Club’s Ben Partridge did have an attempt to break clear at one point, putting seven tenths of a second into Noah Hobbs of Lee Valley Youth CC, who took second a tenth clear of Jed Smithson of WORX Factory Racing.
King crowned victor
The under-16 girls race was a more cagey affair, with a couple of dozen riders working together to control the race.
The group included reigning National Champion Emma Finucane, of Towy Riders, and her teammate Eluned King, who took a sprint win by just 0.02 seconds from Flora Perkins of VC Londres, with Pink Jersey Racing Team’s Flora Knight just 0.06 seconds behind in third.
Oliver takes Stock of a fine triumph
In the final race of the day, the under-16 boys went hammer and tong from the start.
Despite the pace and a couple of early crashes, the lead group stayed together remarkably well, splitting in two at one point but reforming around the halfway mark.
Emile Alexander, of Lichfield City CC, broke clear at around two-thirds of the distance, building a comfortable solo lead until Joseph Pidcock, of PH-MAS/Paul Milnes Cycles, bridged across and looked as though he was going to streak away – but first Pidcock and then Alexander returned to the body of the race.
It was going to be another bunch sprint and there were a number of riders who’d showed their hands at the front, including this year’s Cyclo-Cross National Series winner Oliver Stockwell, of Welwyn Wheelers, and the relentless pace finally told as the top 30 were eventually spread over five seconds of road at the finish.
Despite his turns on the front, Stockwell had enough left to edge out Robert Donaldson of Giant Halifax Race Team by 0.045 seconds, with VC Londres’ Oscar Nilsson-Julien almost half-a-second back in third.
1 Zoe Backstedt (Maindy Flyers)
2 Imani Pereira-James (East Kilbride Road Club)
3 Grace Lister (Wolverhampton Wheelers)
4 Ella Jamieson (Clifton CC)
5 Ella Maclean-Howell (Cardiff JIF)
6 Morven Yeoman (East Kilbride Road Club)
7 Jodie Taylor (Team Terminator)
8 Amy Pullen (Taw Velo)
9 Awen Roberts (Towy Riders)
10.Kiera Chan (East Kilbride Road Club)
1 Ben Partridge (Hetton Hawks Cycling Club)
2 Noah Hobbs (Lee Valley Youth Cycling Club)
3 Jed Smithson (WORX Factory Racing)
4 Caelan Miller (Welwyn Wheelers)
5 Euan Woodliffe (Welwyn Wheelers)
6 Ben Askey (RST Racing Team)
7 Riley Blackmore (PH-MAS/Paul Milnes Cycles)
8 Zachary Walker (Team RL 360 Isle of Man)
9 Alfie Atterton (Edinburgh RC)
10 Jamie Whitcher (Poole Wheelers)
1 Eluned King (Towy Riders)
2 Flora Perkins (VC Londres)
3 Flora Knight (Pink Jersey Racing Team)
4 Sophie Lewis (Cycle Team OnForm)
5 Emma Finucane (Towy Riders)
6 Rosie Finucane (Towy Riders)
7 Izzy Brickell (Fareham Wheelers Cycling Club)
8 Amy Cole (Towy Riders)
9 Ava Oxley-Szilagyi (PH-MAS/Paul Milne Cycles)
10 Imogen Chastell (VC Londres)
1 Oliver Stockwell (Welwyn Wheelers)
2 Robert Donaldson (Giant Halifax Racing Team)
3 Oscar Nilsson-Julien (VC Londres)
4 Jack Rootkin-Gray (Solihull CC)
5 Innes Harvey (VC Londres)
6 Joshua Charlton (Hetton Hawks Cycling Club)
7 Joseph Pidcock (PH-MAS/Paul Milnes Cycles)
8 Hugo Lutz-Atkinson (Ribble Cycling)
9 Nick Jackson (Giant Halifax Racing Team)
10 Bryn Davies (Towy Riders)