Reece Wood (Velocity Globalbike) took a sprint win in the Third Junior Cicle Classic in Leicestershire to boost his tally in the British Cycling Junior Road Series.
The 17-year-old from Wakefield in West Yorkshire was just one second ahead of William Roberts (County Cycles) on the line, while James Tillett (Giant CC) took third, two seconds further back.
The race rolled out of Oakham town centre at ten past nine on a sunny but bitterly cold morning. The removal of the Barrowberg section – which gives the Junior version of the event its ‘Belgian’ feel – changed the nature of the race with a fast ride out to Market Overton, four laps round the circuit and a drag race back in to Oakham for the finish.
Despite the fact that the threatened rain never arrived – and despite the lack of off-road sections – the race wasn’t without incident with a number of crashes eliminating over a quarter of the field by the finish.
Early on it was hard for anyone with stay away with Cameron Biddle of Solihull CC and Oliver Robinson of Thanet RC taking the points as they passed the Black Bull for the first time, but with less than a minute on the chasing pack.
A lap later it was a group of four out in front with James Tillett (Giant CC) – who would go on to clinch the King of the Bergs competition – Matthias Barnet of Spokes Racing Team, Eugene Cross of SSLL Racing Team and William Roberts of County Cycles RT – but they only had a handful of seconds over the bunch.
As the race developed the lead group swelled first to ten and then – when a small group including eventual winner Reece Wood – joined, all the major players were in place for the conclusion of the race.
We played a bit of cat and mouse and then in the sprint I managed to get around - winner Reece Wood.
On the sprint in to Oakham the race split twice with six riders – Wood, Roberts, Tillett, Ben Hardy of Windmill Wheels Cycling Club, Alfie Moses of HMT and George Mew Jensen of VC Londres – easing away from the other half of the group.
Then Wood and Roberts pulled away inside the last kilometre – the Velocity Globalbike rider breaking Roberts’ resistance in the final sprint to take the win by a clear second with Tillett leading the remainder of the front group home.
Wood’s team mates Matthew Walls and Peter Kibble were at the head of the next group – 16 seconds behind the winner.
“It was quite a sketchy race – it was a lot sketchier than last year – but I just tried to stay out of trouble and then went at the right time and managed to stay away,” said Reece Wood.
“On the first lap I got a puncture, but I managed to get back on thanks to a spare wheel from the team car. Then a group of about ten got away and me and George Mew Jensen bridged the gap – and we just worked quite well together and drove to the finish and I managed to win the gallop at the end.
“I went for it in the last 1km but it was into a headwind and a few of them got back on an we played a bit of cat and mouse and then in the sprint I managed to get around.”
1 Reece Wood Velocity Globalbike 2:11:10
2 William Roberts County Cycles Racing Team at 1sec
3 James Tillett Giant Cycling Club – Halo Films at 3sec
4 Ben Hardy Windmill Wheels Cycling Club st
5 Alfie Moses HMT with JLT Condor 2:11:13 st
6 Georg Mew Jensen VC Londres 2:11:13 st
7 Matthew Walls Velocity Globalbike 2:11:26 at 16sec
8 Peter Kibble Velocity Globalbike 2:11:26 st
9 Harry Hardcastle VCUK PH-MAS Cycling Team st
10 Billy Robinson Squadra RT st