Grindley grabs the win in enthralling Youth Tour finale


The sun shone down on the riders as the final day of racing at the 2022 Youth Tour of Scotland saw some thrilling action, Cat Ferguson and Sebastian Grindley taking the overall victories.

As they have done all week, the girl’s lead the way, taking on 10 laps of a fast but technical Kermesse course, that weaved it’s way through the Strathallan School campus and the surrounding single track lanes.

2.5km in length, with a technical descent, a flat, wide open section that was exposed to cross winds, and a short uphill kick to the finish line, positioning would be crucial. A few early crashes disrupted the flow for some riders, Erin Boothman, who wore the blue Best Scottish Rider jersey unfortunately having a mechanical and then getting caught behind one, meaning she would relinquish her grip on that competition come the end of proceedings.

The race stayed together until three laps to go, where Nicola Quaye from the Isle of Man escaped from a lead group of 13, and forced an advantage of some 10 seconds, that she was committed to protecting. Onto the bell lap and she was still out front, but the Yorkshire squad, supporting race leader Cat Ferguson in her yellow jersey, reeled her back in, to set up a thrilling final climb.

As she has done all week, Ferguson positioned herself beautifully, holding her position near the front before launching an attack over the crest, taking the inside line through the final corner to take the stage and the overall tour title. Pushing her hard all the way was the rider who started and would finish second on General Classification (GC), Carys Lloyd from BC South East, with Imogen Wolff rounding out the podium on the stage and also on GC.

As well as second on GC, Lloyd would also notch up the green jersey for the Points Classification, with Isabel Mayes clinching the Queen of the Mountains classification, and Daisy Taylor topping the Best Scot standings.

Speaking of her victory, a delighted Ferguson said:

“I’m really, really happy with it. The race today was so fun – it was so hard all the way round, and the narrowness of the course meant you couldn’t really see the attacks going, which made it really exciting.

“We didn’t really know someone had gone off the front, and it wasn’t until the spectators said. We, Yorkshire, were planning to attack anyway, and we managed to catch her back up and then I just wanted to make sure I was on the front into the final climb, keeping everyone on my hip and keeping the inside – it was an exciting sprint finish up the hill.

“It’s amazing to win – some big names have won the races here in the past, so it’s really exciting for me.”

Whilst the boy’s race, contested over 16 laps, started slightly more sedately than the women’s, it soon burst into life, with small crashes causing some frantic chases. Whilst it mostly stayed together at the front of the race, a key moment came as the King of Mountain’s classification was contested, Finlay Hawker, riding in the polka dot jersey, was keen to secure that overall.

He might be diminutive in stature, but was anything but on the climbs, taking the points he needed to wrap up that classification. With that move a quartet were clear and as the laps ticked on they extended their advantage to 45 seconds at it’s peak.

Earlier in proceedings Seb Grindley, winner of the prologue on day one, and level on time with GC leader Joe Cosgrove, had taken the two Points Classification sprints, meaning he was virtual leader on the road by five seconds.

It took until 10 of the 16 laps had been and gone for the peloton to get organised, the BC North West team, containing both Gridley and Cosgrove, not needing to chase as they had teammate Joseph Watkins-Wilson in the four man breakaway group. The gap to that group did start to come down however, and that’s when the race kicked into overdrive.

Up the climb, Grindley went on the offensive, and having broken clear of the peloton, a flying lap of the Strathallan course saw him bridge to the leaders – it was now his race to lose. As such he drove that group on over the final three laps, ensuring they would stay and he would win the Youth Tour of Scotland overall.

When it came down to the spoils on the stage, Grindley was content to cross the line with teammate Watkins-Wilson, finger in the air in third place, Ollie Boarer of BC South taking the win from Joshua Jackson of BC West Midlands. In the end the peloton finished two minutes back, Ahron Dick of Scotland West safely in the bunch to secure the Best Scot jersey he has worn all weekend.

Such was the success of the North West teams’ efforts across the three days of racing, they wrapped up the Team Classification, with Grindley also snatching the green points jersey. When it came down to the overall General Classification, which Grindley secured, there was a nervous wait for the podium presentation to see who join him in the top three. Thanks to their breakaway heroics on the final day, it would be Jackson of the West Midlands who bagged second, with Watkins-Wilson third.

Speaking after a highly successful race, Seb Grindley said afterwards:

“I took the first two primes and felt good, but then after the King of the Mountains points a group of four got away and they were a real threat. I was trying to get a group rolling through together but it wasn’t working, so I thought I’d go solo and try and bridge the gap myself and I did it, and we held it ‘til the end.

“It feels great to win this – you see all the names who have come here and won previously, it’s great to come here and be one of them.”

Of his team’s efforts, Grindley added:

“We have a really solid team and have been racing together since u10s – we’ve got some good experience racing together and we’re all good mates – it’s been awesome.”

A big thanks must go to Strathallan School, Perth & Kinross Council and Event Scotland, without whom this prestigious, but more importantly key developmental race for youth riders, could not happen. We’d also like to thank all of the volunteers, officials, Scottish Cycling staff and local communities who work tirelessly to make the event a success.

Full results from all of this weekend’s action can be found here

Read all about the action from Stages 2 and 3 on Sunday here

Read all about the action from Saturday's opening Prologue and Stage 1 here