Hugh Carthy (Champion System) won the RIS Junior Tour of Wales, final round of the National Junior Road Race Series, after leading throughout the last four stages of the 2012 race.
Guy Swarbrick reports for British Cycling.
The downpour and hailstorm at the finish of the opening Time Trial on Saturday looked positively tropical by comparison as the final stage took place under dark grey clouds in conditions that varied from drizzle to monsoon.
Peter Cocker took the opening King of the Mountains points at Jah Jireh with Norwegian Adrian Henriksen of Sportsklubben Rye second, Yellow jersey Hugh Carthy of Champion System third and Craig Wallace of Scotland taking the final point. Carthy was starting to close in on his team mate Chris Lawless, the wearer of the Polka Dot jersey as well as protecting his yellow.
The first Green jersey points – and time bonuses – at Penderyn went to Zachary May of Wales – with Sam Lowe of Hargroves Cycles moving to the lead in the competition with second place. Lowe was tied on points with Lawless – who picked up two at Penderyn – both leapfrogging previous leader Jacob Scott, despite the Planet X rider collecting the last of the points.
Over the moors, pulled out a sizeable lead with the rest of the bunch keeping a watching eye but waiting for the descent to pull him back in – and Carthy and his nearest challenger Will Stephenson of Primera Sport Specialized right at the front of the bunch, keeping an eye on each other.
Coming off the moors and out towards Brecon there were more Green jersey points – and seconds – up for grabs and it was Ed Laverack of Wales who took the 4 points to move in to fourth in the competition ahead of Seb Bayliss of Team South West, Stephenson and May – who had finally been reeled in.
There were attacks en route, but by Bwlch - and the penultimate - King of the Mountains point two break away groups came together to form a 11 strong leading group which contained Carthy and Stephenson – the second placed GC rider sat firmly on the leader’s shoulder.
With a gap of just 3 seconds the final climb would be decisive. The King of the Mountains jersey, though, was swinging Carthy’s way as he took maximum points to move ahead of Lawless. Stephenson took second, ahead of Bayliss and Dan Pearson of Wales.
The final - 4 mile - climb up the other side of Tumble Mountain from the opening day’s time trial is a fitting end to this race. Averaging eight per cent, it touches 15 per cent in places and it was no great surprise that the lead group – now 22 in number - fragmented on the way up, with tail end falling in to the clutches of the remains of the main bunch.
James Knox of Mountivation Junior Academy rode away from the rest – in to a howling gale of a headwind which, thankfully, was no longer accompanied by rain - to take the stage win comfortably. A late surge from Craig Wallace secured second. He dropped Carthy in the run-in, but the Yellow Jersey had a 30 second cushion over Stephenson.
That victory meant that Carthy topped the final GC by 34 seconds from Stephenson. It might have been close at the front, but the time gaps that opened up between the top two and the other contenders on the final stage meant that third placed Laverack was almost three and a half minutes down on Carthy. Points from winning the Time Trial stage and his overall GC finish ensured that Alex Peters of Mosquito Bikes picked up the National Junior Road Race Series award.
The Green jersey went to Sam Lowe thanks to his two wins on Sprinter’s Sunday and his second place in the first prime of the final stage. Lawless took second, with Laverack’s 8 points on the day lifting him above Scott to clinch 3rd. Lawless was second in the King of the Mountains competition, too, but that jersey went to Carthy, whose 3rd place on the final climb of the final day secured the double.
In the Team classification, Wales – who had picked up the team award on three of the five stages – took the title, well clear of second placed Sportscover Altura RT and Team De Ver.
Speaking to British Cycling after the race, Yellow jersey winner Carthy confessed to enjoying the climbing, which reminds him of the hills near his home in Lancashire.
“I was a bit disappointed with my time in the time trial, but it was OK and it kept me in contention,” he said. “I was really pleased with Stage 2 – I worked well with Chris [Lawless] and once I’d won that it was all about staying ahead of Will [Stephenson]. It’s a great race and I wish I could ride it again next year! It’s been a difficult year, but I’ve enjoyed my last year as a junior and I’m looking forward to my first year as a senior.”
Stage 4 is of the Tour of Wales is a schizophrenic mix of pretty country lanes and dual carriageway – the only thing the two halves of the course have in common is that they’re both very fast. Traditionally, the stage finishes in a bunch sprint (although sometimes there is more than one bunch by the end) – and traditionally it is won by a rider from Hargroves Cycles. Owain Doull won in 2011, Dan Mclay in 2010 and Peter Dibben in 2009.
Ed Laverack was first over the line at the first Green jersey sprint – although there wasn’t much sprinting involved – with Jacob Scott of Planet X following him over the line ahead of Dante Carpenter of Cube Fintro Spie and George Pym of Team South West.
The sprints for the Points jersey competition have the effect of bringing the field back together – before the second four riders had a 15 second gap on the main field, but they were caught in the dash for points – which was won by Ashley Proctor of Sportscover Altura from team mate Jake Womersley with Hugo Robinson of Glendene CC and Pym, again, taking the remainder of the points.
And at the finish it was a six-man break that succumbed in the closing few hundred metres with Harry Tanfield of Team Wallis CHH looking as though he might make up for this morning’s disappointment, taking a clear lead into the last 20 metres.
Sam Lowe had other ideas, though and came off Tanfield’s wheel to surge round him and snatch his second win of the day. Not only did Lowe keep the Hargroves Stage 4 run going, he completed a treble double for the team – last year Owain Doull took Stage 4 in the afternoon after team mate Alistair Slater had taken the Parc Bryn Bach circuit race in the morning and in 2010 Dan Mclay took both stages.
Scott’s fourth place was enough to lift him to the top of the Points classification – tied with Chris Lawless of Champion System, who pipped him on the line. Lowe’s win puts him in third place, a point behind the leaders and three ahead of Tanfield.
The vast majority of the field finished together, which meant that the only thing that could have affected the overall classification was time bonuses, but although Laverack, Womersley and Lawless shaved a little of their deficits there were no significant changes in the overall standings.
The final stage is a real test with four significant climbs – two of which have the potential to blow the field apart. Anyone in the top 10 is more than capable of taking the overall lead – and maybe a few outside it.
Stage 3 of the Tour of Wales took place around the very lumpy road race course at Parc Bryn Bach near Ebbw Vale. The course turns right at the end of the short start-finish straight, and immediately hits a sharp, twisting climb which averages five per cent and hits seven per cent in places.
Rolling and winding around the top of the hill, it then descends sharply – at up to ten per cent - towards a 90 degree bend back on the home straight. It’s a tough, technical course and they tackle it 10 times in an hour.
Within two laps there were a couple of dozen riders out the back, but as is so often the case here, the main contenders stayed together with small groups of riders trying to make something stick – Dante Carpenter of Cube Fintro Spie, Scott Davies of Wales and Thomas Armstrong of Motivation Junior Academy par. The recent rain had made a small section on the back side of the course wet and muddy and by half distance many of the riders looked as though they had been in a cyclo cross race.
The muddy section was treacherous, too, with a couple of riders going down – most notably CC Hackney’s Tao Geoghegan Hart who finished the stage but headed off to hospital with a gash on his left elbow but returned in time for the afternoon’s Stage.
At the bell the main contenders were back together, but well strung out and everything was set up for a bunch sprint. And bunch sprint there was – but for 9th place. The higher places were sewn up by National Junior Road Race Champion Sam Lowe – who rode away from Harry Tanfield of Team Wallis CHH with Thomas Armstrong of Mountivation Development Academy in third. Ed Laverack and Scott Davies rounded out the top 5 for Wales.
Despite the hilly nature of the course there are no King of the Mountains points on Stage 3 – or Stage 4 - so Chris Lawless of Champion System retains his lead in that competition until tomorrow. There were three sprints for the Points jersey, though and a single point was enough to keep Team South West’s George Pym in the lead – just while Jacob Scott of Planet X moved from nowhere to second place, taking 8 points on the stage with wins in the first two sprints. Sam Lowe’s 6 Points at the finish with a single at the first sprint moved him in to third place.
And the leaders finished in the main bunch, so there was no change there with Hugh Carthy of Champion System retaining his 3 second lead over Will Stephenson of Primera Sport Specialized. The fast, flat Stage 4 usually finishes in a bunch sprint, but a split in the field isn’t unknown and 3 seconds is a slender lead.
After just over an hour and a half of fast racing through Brecon, the race reached the bottom of the final climb at Llangynidr with a group of ten riders away. Most of the pre-race favourites were in the group but race leader – and Junior Series leader – Alex Peters had been distanced in an earlier incident when the main bunch had taken a wrong turn and had to chase back.
The 5km climb broke what was left of the field apart and it was Hugh Carthy of Champion System who was the strongest – pulling out a 14 second gap on second placed Will Stephenson of Primera Sports Specialized.
There was then a gap of just over a minute to Scott Davies of Wales, Carthy’s team mate Chris Lawless and Seb Bayliss of Team South West with Jake Womersley of Sportscover Altura ten seconds behind that trio.
Bayliss’ team mate George Pym was next, just ahead of Olly Wood of Sportscover Altura. Ed Laverack of Wales and Matt Flynn of Mountivation Junior Academy rounded out the top 10 – three and half minutes behind Carthy. The last of the finishers rolled over the line almost an hour later.
The result leaves all the major competitions in the Tour wide open with Carthy just 3 seconds ahead of Stephenson with Lawless a minute back in third.
Day 2’s stages kick off with a tough, hilly circuit race that’s likely to see the race break up and then a fast, relatively flat road stage that may well end up in a bunch sprint. As always, it looks like the overall will be decided on Monday’s mountain top finish.
Carthy’s win also put him ahead in the King of the Mountains competition – although Carthy’s GC lead will mean that Chris Lawless, who lead the competition after Stage 1, will continue to wear the jersey and, just 4 points back, is still in contention.
Stage 2 also contained three Sprint points and Pym will lead the Points competition in to the second day, just a point ahead of Flynn.
The opening stage of this year’s Junior Tour of Wales – the final round of the National Junior Road Race Series – took its traditional form of a short but brutal 4.5-mile time trial from Nantyglo to the top of Tumble Mountain.
Series leader Alex Peters of Mosquito Bikes cruised effortlessly in to the leader’s yellow jersey with a majestic 11:53 – 27 seconds ahead of second-placed Germain Burton of Team De Ver.
Chris Lawless of Champion Systems on the same time in third, while Ed Laverack of Wales a second further back.
1 Hugh Carthy (Champion System) 6:55:38
2 Will Stephenson (Primera Sport-Specialized) @34 seconds
3 Ed Laverack (Wales) @3:23
4 Chris Lawless (Champion System) @3:39
5 Scott Davies (Wales) @3:41
6 Sebastian Bayliss (Team South West) @4:56
7 Jake Womersley (Sportscover Altura RT) @5:06
8 James Knox (Mountivation Junior Academy) @5:33
9 Alex Peters (Team De Ver) @5:46
10 Dan Pearson (Wales) @5:49
1 James Knox (Mountivation Junior Academy ) 2:27:42
2 Craig Wallace (Scotland) @2 seconds
3 Hugh Carthy (Champion System) @7 secs
4 Dan Pearson (Wales) @35 secs
5 Will Stephenson (Primera Sport-Specialized) @38 secs
6 Ed Laverack (Wales) @47 secs
7 Alex Peters (Team De Ver) @1:05
8 Jo Moses (Sportscover Altura RT) @1:17
9 Harry Franklin (Team De Ver) @1:18
10 Dante Carpenter (CFS) @1:21
1 Sam Lowe (Hargroves Cycles) 1:34:44
2 Harry Tanfield (Team Wallis CHH) same time
3 Chris Lawless (Champion System) st
4 Jacob Scott (Planet X) st
5 Jake Womersley (Sportscover Altura RT) st
6 Alastair Hepworth (VS Cycles) st
7 Germain Burton (Team De Ver) st
8 Olly Wood Sportscover (Altura RT) st
9 Peter Cocker (East Midlands) st
10 Thomas Armstrong (Mountivation Junior Academy) st
1 Sam Lowe (Hargroves Cycles) 44:06
2 Harry Tanfield (Team Wallis CHH) @1 sec
3 Thomas Armstrong (Mountivation Junior Academy) same time
4 Ed Laverack (Wales) @ 2 secs
5 Scott Davies (Wales) same time
6 Dante Carpenter (Cube Fintro Spie) @3 secs
7 Thijs de Lange (Theo Middlekamp/WV Shijndel) @4 secs
8 Alex Peters (Team De Ver) same time
9 Jacob Scott (Planet X) @10 secs
10 Harry Franklin (Team De Ver) same time
1 Hugh Carthy (Champion System) 1:56:04
2 Will Stephenson (Primera Sports Specialized) @ 14sec
3 Scott Davies (Wales) @ 1:15
4 Chris Lawless (Champion System) @ 1:22
5 Sebastian Bayliss (Team South West) @ 1:25
6 Jake Womersley (Sportscover Altura RT) @ 1:34
7 George Pym (Team South West) @ 2:16
8 Olly Wood (Sportscover Altura RT) @ 2:36
9 Ed Laverack (Wales) @ 3:25
10 Matt Flynn (Mountivation Junior Academy @3:34
Stage one (individual time trial, 4.5 miles):
1 Alex Peters (Team De Ver) 11:53
2 Germain Burton (Team De Ver) 12:20
3 Chris Lawless (Champion System) 12:20
4 Ed Laverack (Wales) 12:21
5 Harry Tanfield (Team Wallis CHH) 12:25
6 Dan Pearson (Wales) 12:27
7 Will Stephenson (Primera Sport Speciaized) 12.31
8 Tao Geoghegan Hart (CC Hackney) 12:35
9 Craig Wallace (Scotland 1) 12:38
10 Gavin Shuttleworth (Scotland 2) 12:38
Points Competition after Stage 5:
1 Sam Lowe (Hargroves Cycles) 16
2 Chris Lawless (Champion System) 16
3 Ed Laverack (Wales) 15
4 Jacob Scott (Planet X) 15
5 Harry Tanfield (Team Wallis CHH) 10
6 Jake Womersley (Sportscover Altura RT) 8
7 Hugh Carthy (Champion System) 7
8 George Pym (Team South West) 7
9 Zachery May (Wales) 7
10 Matt Flynn (Mountivation Junior Academy) 7
King of the Mountains Competition after Stage 5:
1 Hugh Carthy (Champion System) 18
2 Chris Lawless (Champion System) 13
3 Will Stephenson (Primera Sport-Specialized) 10
4 James Knox (Mountivation Junior Academy) 6
5 Craig Wallace (Scotland) 6
6 Thomas Armstrong (Mountivation Junior Academy) 5
7 Alex Peters (Team De Ver) 5
8 Tao Geoghegan-Hart (CC Hackney) 5
9 Peter Cocker (East Midlands) 4
10 Jake Womersley (Sportscover Altura RT) 4
Team Competition after Stage 5:
1 Wales 20:58:38
2 Sportscover Altura RT 21:04:30
3 Team De Ver/Stevens/Mosquito/Prestige 21:08:25
4 Glendene CC 21:22:46
5 Team Wallis CHH Racing Team 21:22:56
6 Scotland 1 21:23:27
7 BC Eastern Region 21:24:43
8 Mountivation Junior Academy 21:25:28
9 Sportsklubben Rye 21:25:55
10 South West Road Race Juniors 21:27:38
British Cycling would like to thank the organising team, officials and everyone else who helped promote this event. Our sport could not exist without the hundreds of people, many of them unpaid volunteers, who put in many hours of hard work running events, activities and clubs.