Ryan Coulton (Pro Vision SJ Academy) took overall victory in the Tour of the Mendips after breaking away on stage two with a select group of five riders.
Wintry weather on stage one shaped the race for many riders, but the temperature stayed warm for the 78-kilometre second stage, run around the picturesque Mendip Hills.
Adam Hartley (VCUK PH-MAS) took a solo win on the tough Mendips circuit that proved so different from the opening stage, with three major climbs deciding the outcome of the day.
The opening Burrington Combe climb saw the bunch stay together until the final few metres when Matt Fratesi (Severn RC) jumped off the front to take the points and secure the overall King of the Mountains competition. Cameron Orr (SRAM Development), Cameron Biddle (Solihull CC), Harry Yates (Hargroves Cycles) and Jacob Vaugan (VC Londres) took the remainder of the points.
As the course flattened out over the top of the climb and headed out towards Cheddar the race began to ignite. A group of five rode away and would ultimately decide the structure of the day.
Hartley, Coulton, Charles Page (Corley Cycles), George Greenhalgh (Identity RT) and Matthew Cox (Giant CC-HALO) rode well together to keep the bunch at around two and a half minutes.
The second time around the course saw the field tackle the vicious climb up Rhodyate Hill, the same five were still away as the race took the sharp left through the small village of Blagdon and began the ascent, past the feed to the second King of the Mountains climb which was taken by Matthew Cox.
The climb saw the race split apart, with riders struggling up the sharp ascent. A crash coming into Blagdon saw Cameron Biddle and Kieron Howarth hit the floor, and although the pair jumped back on they were too far back to have any more input to the race.
As the race took to the final circuit, a group of 13 started to try and reel the leaders in including Charlie Quarterman, Rob Scott and Peter Kibble. They got to within 1-45 of the leaders, but the gap was too great to close.
Hartley, Coulton and Cox hit the foot of the final climb of Harptree Hill leading up to the finish, Coulton knew he had enough time to take the overall and was happy to take second while Hartley took his biggest victory to date, crossing the line 17 seconds ahead of the PRO Vision rider. Cox completed the podium a few seconds adrift.
“I got away about 2km over the top of the first climb,” explained Coulton. “I saw two guys going across so I just bridged over and it turned into a six-rider break. We worked together and managed to get three and a half minutes. I didn’t expect to keep the gap as it’s a tough course.
“When we got up the steep second climb we lost two guys so were down to a group of three. But we were still working hard and had a good gap so I stuck at it. With 10km to go I had a good minute so was getting pretty confident.
“We were all drilling it. When I hit the last climb I was pretty confident.” - Overall winner Ryan Coulton.
And stage two winner Adam Hartley added: “I thought it looked a good move to get in, but it wasn’t the plan. The plan originally was to try to get away on the second to last climb. Coulton said he would let me have the win if I helped stay away.
“It’s my biggest win yet, and a good start to the season, so happy days!”
Owen Line took the win in the opening stage of the Junior Tour Of The Mendips, round two of the British Cycling Junior Road Series, staged near Bristol.
The Pro Vision Cycling Academy rider jumped away in the closing metres to win the 11-rider sprint from Dylan Thomas (VC Meudon) and team-mate Ryan Coulton.
The weather would play it’s part on the outcome of the race with much of the field succumbing to hypothermia on the open roads. As the flag dropped the rain started to fall, becoming more persistent as the race progressed. With the wind taking the temperature below freezing in parts, many riders had to climb off for medical attention.
Matt Fratesi (Severn RC) took the King of the Mountain’s jersey on the first climb of the day up the tough drag at Burrington Combe, taking the race towards the first of seven times around the Rifleman’s circuit.
Although a small group went away on the opening lap it would be the second time around that the race woke up. A group of 15 riders attacked and soon opened up a 90-second gap.
The group - which included Owen Dudley (IOM Cycling), Rob Scott (VCUK), Grant Martin (Spokes RT), James Jenkins (Eastern Region) and Eugene Cross (SSLL RT) - were working well together and it looked as though they could stay the distance.
The main field was beginning to splinter with the pace and by the third lap the race was split into four groups, the lead group keeping the pace high and the peloton not looking to respond.
But with the cold starting to take the energy out of the front group the gap began to drop to the main field and with three laps remaining the race was back together.
The catch was the trigger for attacks, and Owen Line went ahead alone as the race hit the sweeping bend onto the Chedder Road. Speedflex RT’s Conor Davies joined him and the pair got a useful gap over the main field.
Hargroves Cycles’ Harry Yates chased the two leaders and the race began to split into a number of groups. The final two laps would prove too much for many riders, again the bitter cold taking many by surprise and leaving them climbing off in search of warm team cars.
It was a group of 10 that took the final lap ahead of what was left of the field and, hitting the final bend into the finish straight into a brisk headwind, it would be Line who had the legs to claim the win.
1. Ryan Coulton (Pro Vision SJ Academy) 4.29.02
2. Charlie Quarterman (Zappi’s Racing Team) at 43sec
3. Charlie Meredith (Giant CC- HALO Films) at 1.37
4. Cameron Orr (SRAM Development) at same time
5. Ben Hardy (Windmill Wheels CC) at 1.43
1. Adam Hartley (VCUK PH MAS CT) 2.02.58
2. Ryan Coulton (Pro Vision SJ Academy) at 17sec
3. Matthew Cox ( Giant CC-HALO Films) at 26sec
4. Charlie Quarterman (Zappi’s Racing Team) at 1.00
5. Owen Dudley (IOM Cycling Academy) at 1.51
1. Owen Line (Pro Vision Cycling Academy) 2.25.47
2. Dylan Thomas (VC Meudon)
3. Ryan Coulton (Pro Vision Cycling Academy)
4. Charlie Quarterman (Zappis RT)
5. Tim Jones (Spokes RT)