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Road: Youth champs crowned in Blackpool

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Location: Blackpool, Lancashire
Event: 6 July 2013
Report and Photos: Guy Swarbrick

Under a blazing Blackpool sun the 2013 British Cycling National Youth Circuit Championships took place on the challenging, technical North Promenade course on Saturday.

Without his National Series rival Daniel Wylie-Morris of Towy Riders to contend with, Niall Colquitt of Team Royal London 360 Isle of Man had a relatively easy time of it – if 5 times up the gruelling climb is ever easy for riders of any age, let alone Under 8s.

By the finish he was almost 12 seconds ahead of Jed Smithson of Oxonian CC with Thomas Wadsworth of Palmer Park Velo a further three seconds back.

Under 8
1 Niall COLQUITT Team Royal London 360 Isle of Man
2 Jed SMITHSON Oxonian CC @11.775 seconds
3 Thomas WADSWORTH Palmer Park Velo RT @14.705
4 Awen ROBERTS Towy Riders @1:03.349
5 Scott FISHER Furness Future Flyers @1:11.118
6 James DONALDSON Mossley CRT @1:35.308

Ben Askey of Lichfield City CC had a less straightforward time of it in the Under 10s.

Although the time gaps stretched out a little in the run-in to the line, the result effectively came down to a five way sprint among the lead group which included the National Series leader, Max Poole of Lincsquad, Benjamin Peatfield of Bolton Hot Wheels, Sam Hall of Lyme Racing Club and Percy Hampton of Team Royal London 360 Isle of Man.

They finished in that order, with just over 5 seconds between them, but Askey was made to work for the win and deserves a lot of credit for appearing to dominate what is, in fact, a very competitive age group.

Under 10
1 Ben ASKEY Lichfield City CC
2 Max POOLE Lincsquad @1.019 seconds
3 Benjamin PEATFIELD Bolton Hot Wheels CC @3.596
4 Sam HALL Lyme Racing Club @4.161
5 Percy HAMPTON Team Royal London 360 Isle of Man @5.226
6 Thomas DAVIES Welwyn Wheelers @21.308

Some of Lewis Askey’s wins in the National Series, by contrast, have looked almost too easy. Not to take anything away from his performances, but he has looked as though he would benefit from some close competition. And today he got it in the form of Alfred George of Discovery Junior Cycling Club.

The familiar pattern of Askey riding away from the rest of the field was there, but this time George was with him every turn of the pedals. And he wasn’t just sitting in there and benefitting from Askey’s strength, either – he did his fair share of the work.

And between them they put 53 seconds in to the chase group – rather more on the remains of the bunch – the biggest winning margin of the day. At least, the margin from second to third was – Askey only had just over a hundredth of a second over George on the line, but it was enough to take the title.

And Poppy Wildman led home the chase group to take third overall and clinch the Under 12 Girls title.

Under 12
1 Lewis ASKEY Lichfield City CC
2 Alfred GEORGE Discovery Junior Cycling Club @0.013 seconds
3 Poppy WILDMAN Nottingham Clarion CC @53.241
4 Owain ROBERTS Towy Riders @ 53.309
5 Robert DONALDSON @53.470
6 James CODD Maindy Flyers Youth CC @54.225

Another rider that has dominated her age category in the National Series this year is Jessica Roberts of Towy Riders. Like Askey in the Under 12s, she’s often won the Under 14 Girls races after simply riding away from the field – and, like Askey, things were a little different today – for a while at least.

Roberts did ride off the front of the race – and lapped the field – but she had company. Rhona Callender of Stirling Bike Club matched her for pace and the two swept through the field, merging with group after group before dropping them and moving on to their next target.

At the bell, though, Roberts turned on the style again, putting almost 20 seconds in to Callender on the final lap to take the win. Callender was safely ahead of the pack with Lowri Thomas - the first of the lapped riders – taking the Bronze medal.

Under 14 Girls
1 Jessica ROBERTS Towy Riders
2 Rhona CALLENDER Stirling Bike Club @19.039 seconds
3 Lowri THOMAS Abergavenny Road Club @1 lap
4 Emily WADSWORTH Beeline Bicycles RT
5 Elizabeth BENNETT Cardiff JIF
6 Georgia HILLEARD

The Under 14 Boys races in the British Cycling National Circuit Series have been cagey affairs.

Although there’s the odd attempt to break away, the bunch always seems intent on watching last year’s Championship Gold Medallist Dan Tullett of Hargroves Cycles-Specialized and Dan, for the most part, seems happy to let them – confident in the fact that he’ll be in contention if the set up a bunch sprint for him.

The 2013 Championship followed the same pattern – there were a few attempts to break away – including a couple of attempts by Tullett – but, in the end, it was another bunch finish. But what a finish! The top 11 were separated by 0.867 seconds.

In the last two rounds the outgoing Champion had lost out the CDNE’s William Turnbull, but he wasn’t going to let it happen again – retaining his title by just 0.030 seconds on the line.

That was close, but the battle from Bronze was closer with Anthony Anderson of Kingston Wheelers – who’d spent much of the early part of the race on the front before losing touch and having to chase back to the bunch – and Jamie Ridehalgh of Airedale Chemical RT separated by just one one-thousandth of a second.

Under 14 Boys
1 Daniel TULLETT Hargroves Cycles RT – Specialized
2 William TURNBULL CDNE @0.030
3 Anthony ANDERSON Kingston Wheelers @0.312
4 Jamie RIDEHALGH Airedale Chemical RT @0.313
5 Tomos OWENS Brooks Cycles @0.414
6 Charles PAGE Hillingdon Slipstreamers @0.512

The Under 16 Girls race came down to a bunch sprint, too, but it didn’t look like that would be the outcome early on as Maisie Duckworth of Wolverhampton Wheelers opened out – and held – a 28 second gap to the bunch.

Duckworth was chased down at around the half way mark and although there were a few attempts to test the bunch’s resolve, that resolve held firm and all the favourites were still together at the bell.

It was Grace Garner of RST Racing who edged out Charlotte Broughton of MG Decor to claim the title with Elizabeth Holden of Team Royal London 360 Isle of Man taking the Bronze.

Garner told British Cycling: “I was feeling pretty tired at the start and I wasn’t really expecting to do very well because there’s a hill in it and I’ve not really done very well before on this course.

“The last corner before the Finish Line’s a bit dodgy and the hill’s pretty tough!”

Had she been aware of Duckworth’s solo break? “Yes – but I didn’t see her go and I didn’t see her come back. I was just relying on people in the bunch to let me know what was going on.

“Everyone was expecting people to make moves – and they did – everyone was a bit tense. But everyone followed the moves and there wasn’t anything dangerous that went up the road, so it worked well for me.”

And when did she know she’d got it? “Right on the line! I could Charlotte coming up and I knew one of us had won it!”

Under 16 Girls
1 Grace GARNER RST Racing Team
2 Charlotte BROUGHTON MG Décor @0.047
3 Elizabeth HOLDEN Team Royal London 360 Isle of Man @0.445
4 Megan BARKER Cardiff Ajax CC @0.560
5 Eleanor DICKINSON Beacon Wheelers @0.620
6 Ffion JAMES Abergavenny Road Club @1.043

The final race of the day was unlike all the other dominated by two breaks – one of which lasted for the opening 10 laps and the other the closing 10. The first saw French-based rider Tom England of Bush Healthcare escape with Christopher Barnes of Seacroft Wheelers and John Didsbury of Salt Ayre Cog Set.

The trio opened out a 26 second lead and the bunch were content to leave them out there. When they did pull them back in, confusion briefly replaced the ordered chase with Nathan Draper of Team Royal London 360 Isle of Man and Fabian Brennan of Velocity WD40 initially going clear with David Barnes of Condor Cycles in Pursuit.

After a couple of evolutions as riders dropped off and chased on, the final group consisted of Draper, Oliver Peckover of Nottingham Clarion, Thomas Weeds of Derby Mercury, Oscar Williamson of Mossley CRT and Ben Forsyth of Edinburgh RC.

As the laps came down, the bunch started to charge with Karl Baillie of Witham Wheelers doing much of the work. It wasn’t to be – the bunch stayed away, although Baillie had enough left to lead the bunch home.

Ahead of him it was Forsyth that took the title just ahead of Peckover and Draper – the top 3 separated by less than two tenths of a second.

Forsyth told British Cycling “I was just trying to stay up the front because I’ve not being doing great so far this year. I was really trying to prove to myself that I could do it.”

“Then I saw two guys go off the front and then three of us managed to attack and get over to it. But when we got there we still had 8 or 9 laps to go and I was just hanging on for pretty much all of it.”

“And then just coming in to the finishing straight there I just had a burst of energy and then – I just couldn’t believe it!”

“I wasn’t expecting it – my aim was to stay in the bunch! But then I just felt so strong… But I didn’t think we were going to stay away. A couple of laps to go they seemed to close in a bit – I thought we were going to get caught, but… it’s just incredible…”

Under 16 Boys
1 Ben FORSYTH Edinburgh RC
2 Oliver PECKOVER Nottingham Clarion CC @0.076
3 Nathan DRAPER Team Royal London 360 Isle of Man @0.157
4 Thomas WOODS Derby Mercury RC @0.735
5 Oscar WILLIAMSON Mossley CRT @13.384
6 Karl BAILLIE Witham Wheelers Cycling Club @14.790

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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.