Further Information and pictures:
- Story posted July 22, 2009
- Matt Bailey wins Junior Tour of Ireland
- West Midlands Team Press Release
- Matt Bailey (Halesowen A&CC) riding in the British Cycling West Midlands team won a hat trick of titles in the 6 day Junior Tour of Ireland on a series of courses around Castlebar in Co.Mayo on the West coast of Ireland. Matt not only won the coveted yellow jersey, he scooped the Green points and the White first year junior award assisted by team members Perry Bowater (CC Giro), John Cooper (Wolverhampton Wh) and Ben Berry(Concorde).The team enjoyed success in the first event the prologue time trial when John Cooper took the Green jersey after recording the second fastest time of 07’42.73 against the winners time of 07’3597 with Matt Bailey coming in 4th in a time of 07’4617. Stage 2 over 105 kilometres on a testing course around Westport was the launchpad for Matt Bailey to take the Yellow jersey in a closely fought sprint with Louis Meintjes of South Africa with both riders crossing the line two seconds ahead of Lawrence Brooking and 44 secs ahead of a large bunch finish. This excellent move brought the West Midlands team to the top of the team leadership.The dramatic rugged coastline of Achill Island with its category 1 climb took its toll on the field and resulted in near total collapse of the peloton and resulted in several small groups of riders fighting it out for over 40km before the finish. Irish Champion Charles Prendergast took the stage in 3.00.36 with West Midland riders Bowater and Bailey coming home 1.28 later which saw Bailey lose his grip on the yellow jersey.Stage 4 from Castlebar to Ballcastle was fought out over rolling coastal roads with a heavy side wind for the last 25km. A six man break battled it out during the closing distance of this stage and three riders gained a 3 sec advantage during the final 1km with Matt Bailey taking the closely fought sprint just ahead of Peter Williams (Ireland) and Louis Meintjes (South Africa), which brought Bailey back into the Yellow Jersey.The local landmark of Windy Gap was to prove another tough category 1 climb that delivered a major shock to the peloton when with 10km to go on the first ascent of this climb, Perry Bowater (BC West Midlands) went away on his own and at the top of the climb was 1.45 up on all the other riders. This rider continued to time trial away from the rest and at one time was 2.10 up. A concerted effort by four riders however, which included Yellow Jersey team mate Bailey, reduced the time gap to 25 seconds at the finish which enabled Matt Bailey to retain the race leadership and also shot Perry Bowater into a strong lead in the KOM competition .The final stage on Sunday was reasonably flat with only one short category 3 climb which kept the peloton all together throughout the race and the stage was decided in a bunch finish of over 50 riders. Matt Bailey retained the Yellow Jersey and also won the White jersey for best first year junior and the Green jersey for Points. The BC West Midlands team completed the jersey route when Perry Bowater took the Polkadot KOM and West Midlands became the first team to make a clean sweep of the major prizes for over 20 years. Team Manager John Crawford said that this was down to superb team work with all four riders working well throughout the week enabling British Cycling to triumph yet again at an international level.