Team Wales - Inter Regional Road Championships 2011

Team Wales - Inter Regional Road Championships 2011

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Team WALES Youth - IRRC Blog

The Welsh Youth team travelled to Perth on Thursday spending the evening adjusting to their accommodation, spending time in riders meetings and wondering where the mobile phone signal had disappeared to!


The Welsh team consisted of Owen James, Matt Cross, Robbie Westwood, Joe Wiltshire, Amy Hill, Emily Haycox, Rebecca Hunt, Megan Barker, Neil hunt (coach) and David Lewis (manager).

Friday morning was an early start for the team which was a common theme for the rest of the race. Breakfast at 7am, van packed and the team were on the road by 8.30am heading for the race headquarters. Arriving at the HQ at 10am the team were driven along the team time trial course. The first team to start were the Welsh girls, seeded on ability ... so no pressure! After a good warm up on the rollers the girls rode to the start. Final instructions were given by the team manager and off the girls went. Cheered on by the coach (Neil) and parents at the first pit area the girls were off to a storming ride. Looking smooth and well drilled the girls rode to take 2nd place and place the pressure on to the boys. Well done girls!

The boys warmed up well and rode to the start. The boys were looking nervous and one of the riders was feeling nauseous. It was obvious that they were ready. Final instructions from the team manager to keep it steady, make sure you don't kick through were obviously ignored. The boys started and after a 100 metres a loud ‘yee haaa' could be heard the boys were on fire and on a ride. Conversation between the manager and coach "could it really be that the boys were already 49 seconds up at the first time check?" The boys were confirmed as 23 seconds up on the second place team. Well done boys. However rumours could be heard and the commissaire had made a controversial decision. The boys and every team who started after Wales were all docked a minute because of a commissaires error, moving Wales from 1st place to 5th. Discussion between the team manager and race officals to reverse the decision was to no avail. The commissaries decision is final ... even when he's made the wrong call.


Poor officiating cheated the boys out of a win

So the girls finished second team on the stage and Wales were sitting in 3rd place. Not as good as first but still all to race for.

Saturday saw another early start and the Friday evening rain had passed and Saturday's weather was hot! Hot weather and a fast circuit gave exciting racing and the girls rode exceptionally well covering all the early moves and being ever present at the front of the bunch. The girls took bottles from the team coach and manager as instructed at the feed zone. With a lap to go the bunch was all together how would the girls do? A small group had got away and Wales were chasing, sweeping around the last bend and Wales were at the front challenging. The girls finished 5th, 9th, 22nd and 23rd scoring well and producing another exceptional team performance. Other team officials commented on the strength of the Welsh girls.

Dark clouds could be seen on the horizon and Scotland's sunny warm weather turned to torrential rain and thunder storms. Unlucky boys! Fridays controversial decision was still on the boys mind ... could the Welsh boys get the points back?

First time through the feedzone and two riders were off the front, one of them from Wales. Race on. Only three Welsh riders were counted what had happened? A crash at the front of the bunch in the slippery conditions had taken out our rider, would he get back on? The rain got heavier and the bunch went quicker and it was clear that our 4th rider was riding for team points now rather than individual glory. Still Wales had 3 good riders in the mix, still all to race for. Midway through the race and there was a split in the bunch and Wales had placed two in the front group. News was passed to the pits that a serious crash had taken place and the race was neutralised for a lap. Where was the 3rd Welsh rider? Wales were informed that our 3rd rider was injured and had been pulled from the race. Disaster! Our 4th counter was now a significant part of the race, every point counted. Unfortunately the heavy rain continued and the course became unrideable. The weather, combined with the serious crash plus other minor crashes made the commissaires decision to cancel the stage a sensible one.

The girls performance was key and the team were now in second place. It all came down to the races on Sunday.

A common theme for the weekend was early starts and Sunday was the earliest. Breakfast was a blurry eyed affair and coffee was the drink of choice at the breakfast table!

The team set off for the race and at the 8am team managers meeting the officials instructed the team that the boys race had been extended to 70km. This was a distance that the boys had never raced before, how would they cope? Still it was the girls first. The Welsh girls had been consistent all race and were instructed to cover the breaks, bringing breaks back and riding towards the front. The girls race stayed together and as the girls came through the feed zone for the last time the Welsh girls were towards the front - perfect! The last 500 metres were straight and the gathering crowds excitement rose as the bunch came speeding towards the finish. Out of the front of the bunch Welsh riders were again prominent placing 3rd, 10th, 17th and 35th. Well done girls another faultless performance.

The last race of the competition was upon us and the talk at the race HQ was that Wales were the team to watch. Would Wales be allowed to get in a breakaway, or were they too dangerous? We were soon to find out!

The boys race as with the girls race started off very quickly and a small group had broken away. With no Welsh riders present and a dangerous rider from Yorkshire in the mix Wales were instructed to put a rider in the break ... the race was on. Next lap the race was back together. The race stayed together until 4 laps to go when four riders broke away, Wales had missed the move but no dangerous riders were there. The race was nullified at the back and the Welsh riders heavily marked. The four became three on the last lap and they decided the finish between them. However the main race was in the bunch which was thundering towards the finish. Welsh riders were again at the front of the bunch finishing 8th, 21st and 26th.

The Welsh team finished in third place and each rider finished tired but happy with the podium place that their hard work rewarded them with.

The Welsh team consisted of Owen James, Matt Cross, Robbie Westwood, Joe Wiltshire, Amy Hill, Emily Haycox, Rebecca Hunt, Megan Barker, Neil hunt (coach) and David Lewis (manager).