The final stage of the NFTO Junior Tour of Wales contains two major climbs and an another half dozen or so shorter ones over 100km – on the back of two gruelling days of racing. This year, at least, the riders didn’t have to put up with tired legs and torrential rain as the sun shone over most of the course.
The opening points of the day were for the King of the Mountains competition and at Baverstocks Hotel – just 15 km in to the race – and it was Harry Shackleton of Team Elite who took the maximum four points ahead of Eddie Dunbar of Sensa Munster. The two had slipped away early on and it was left to Ben Hetherington of Dirtwheels Cycles and Harry Franklin of Team De Ver to take the remainder on the head of the bunch.
As the race turned towards the hills Shackleton fell back in to the bunch and it was Dunbar, out on his own, who took the top Points competition haul at Penperyn. Mitchell Webber of Primera Sports-Specialized took second at the head of a chase group with Gavin Shuttleworth of Team ASL360 and Franklin mopping up the rest.
As well as Shuttleworth, Webber and Franklin the chase group consisted of Joe Crolla of Central, Connor Swift of Bike Box Alan-Whiston Velo, Jake Womersely of Team Sportscover-Haribo, Tom Baylis of Mid-Devon CC, Ben Hetherington of Dirtwheels Cycles and Fintan Ryan of NRPT Standard Life and, in all, they would spend almost half the race away from the peloton.
As they came down off the moor and headed up past the Storey Arms it was Dunbar still at the head of affairs and taking four more points to move him into second in the competition. Webber took another three points at the head of the chase group with Franklin taking third and Womersely taking fourth.
By the penultimate King of the Mountains point at Bwlch Dunbar was back and the peloton was back together with Jamie Francis of Central taking the four points ahead of James Knox who took three to clinch the jersey. Francis’ team mate Max Stead took third with Womersley taking the final point.
In reality, Jacob Scott had secured the Points journey before the stage started – Leon Mazzone of Team Microgaming Isle of Man would have had to win all three sprints to catch him – but he made sure in the final sprint at Crickhowell. It was Francis that took it - with Mazzone second – but Scott’s third, ahead of Owen James of Wales A, left him on 22 points, nine clear of Dunbar with Mazzone third on 12.
Together at the bottom of the Tumble there were still three riders in contention – race leader Scott Davies of Wales A, Dutch rider Sam Oomen – just one second back since the opening time trial – and newly crowned King of the Mountains Knox. It was Knox the attacked at the end of the ‘flat’ section of the mountain but Davies shadowed him all the way to the line – with Oomen also reacting and chasing his rivals all the way home.
Knox took the stage with Davies clinching the overall win a second behind him. Oomen lost another six seconds en route to third on the stage, but it didn’t matter – he was still 22 seconds clear of Knox on GC. So, after 34 years of trying, Wales finally had a home winner of the Junior Tour of Wales and, for the first time, a rider had taken the opening time trial and stayed in yellow to the finish.
Davies spoke to British Cycling after the finish of stage 5. “It feels pretty special. It still hasn’t sunk in, to be honest. If you’d told me at the start of the race it would finish like this, I wouldn’t have believed you. I owe so much to the Welsh Cycling guys – they helped me out no end – from Mike, Julian and Rob the staff, to all my team mates they’ve really done me proud.”
“[The season] worked out pretty well, really. I didn’t get selected for the Track Worlds, so I put all my energy in to this. The Road Worlds is now my priority so it would be nice to get a few more results to set me up for next year – I’m still looking for a team…”
How difficult was it to carry the Yellow Jersey through the whole race with Oomen and Knox breathing down his neck? “I haven’t been able to relax since the Time Trial, really – it’s always been at the back of my mind. I couldn’t sleep last night thinking about it. And then when I got to the Tumble and it was all together I wondered if I’d done too much work up to that point. But clearly not because when we got to the open part of the Tumble, James Knox put a dig in and I followed him and Sam Oomen went out the back then. So it worked out perfectly in the end, but up to that point I had no idea how it was going to pan out. I thought his team was going to be hitting me, hitting me, hitting me – until I popped but luckily it worked out fine for me.”
Stage 5 – Result
1 James Knox Champion System/Maxgear/Base 2:17:50
2 Scott Davies Wales A @1 second
3 Sam Oomen TWC Pijnenburg (Holland) @7 seconds
4 Ashley Dennis Team De Ver @11
5 Stelios Farantakis TWC Pijnenburg (Holland) @18
6 Ben Chapman Team De Ver same time
7 Mitchell Webber Primera Sport-Specialized @21
8 Jake Kelly Team Microgaming Isle of Man same time
9 Maximilian Stedman Central st
10 Joe Evans Hargroves Cycles - Specialized st
Final General Classification
1 Scott Davies Wales A 6:44:44
2 Sam Oomen TWC Pijnenburg (Holland) @7 seconds
3 James Knox Champion System/Maxgear/Base @22
4 Ashley Dennis Team De Ver @1:11
5 Eddie Dunbar Sensa Munster @1:22
6 Ben Chapman Team De Ver @1:34
7 Joe Evans Hargroves Cycles - Specialized @1:46
8 Christopher Lawless Kuota - Spinergy - GSG @1:49
9 Jake Kelly Team Microgaming Isle of Man @1:56
10 Stelios Farantakis TWC Pijnenburg (Holland) @2:04
Final King of the Mountains Classification
1 James Knox Champion System/Maxgear/Base 20
2 Scott Davies Wales A 16
3 Sam Oomen TWC Pijnenburg (Holland) 8
4 Eddie Dunbar Sensa Munster 7
5 Gabriel Cullaigh RST Racing Team 5
6 Jacob Scott Team Sportscover-Haribo 4
7 Harry Shackleton Team-Elite/Paul Bethell Electrical 4
8 Ashley Dennis Team De Ver 4
9 Jamie Francis Central Region 4
10 Stephen Williams Wales A 3
Final Points Classification
1 Jacob Scott Team Sportscover-Haribo 22
2 Eddie Dunbar Sensa Munster 13
3 Leon Mazzone Team Microgaming Isle of Man 12
4 Owen James Wales A 9
5 James King Team Sportscover-Haribo 8
6 Mitchell Webber Primera-Specialized 7
7 Jake Kelly Team Microgaming Isle of Man 6
8 Gavin Shuttleworth Team ASL360 6
9 Gabriel Cullaigh RST Racing Team 6
10 Christopher Lawless Kuota Spinergy 6
Final Team Classification
1 TWC Pijnenburg (Holland) 6:56:27
2 Team De Ver 6:56:19
3 RST Racing Team 6:56:52
4 Forme Bikes UK 6:56:50
5 Hargroves Cycles - Specialized 6:57:49
6 Team Sportscover-Haribo 6:59:53
7 Wales A 6:56:51
8 Sensa Munster 7:01:39
9 Team Microgaming Isle of Man 6:59:42
10 Team ASL360 7:01:09
Please credit www.britishcycling.org.uk and link back if you use any of our race results.
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.