Tom Pidcock timed his attack to perfection as the Paris-Roubaix Juniors winner won stage two of the Sleepwell Hotels Isle of Man Junior Tour and assumed the overall race lead.
The 17-year-old, current British, European and world junior cyclo-cross champion, who has already tasted success in the British Cycling Junior Road Series this season after victory at the opener in Powys, attacked just once in the day, but made it count.
He jumped the field on the final corner of a fast circuit around Jurby to solo to victory by four seconds from the chasing pack – led home by Theo Modell and Ben Barlow.
The struggle to break free
From the off it would be a race of small attacks and chase downs, with no early breaks having any effect on the race until Mark Donovan, of Zappis RT, had other ideas.
When he went on his first attack of the day Charley Calvert (Backstedt/Hotchillie) and Modell (Team Corley Cycles) joined with the escapee to form a trio that looked to have broken the grip of the field.
A further five came to join them as a headwind took its toll on the initial small break, with the eight working well and keeping the peloton at bay until a little more than four laps remained.
A crash is the bunch disrupted the race, with the field all coming back together until Donovan went again – only for a pack led by Pidcock to gradually reel him back in.
The Corley rider tried again, though, and was reunited with Calvert as Hargroves-Ridley’s Harry Yates also joined in to make it a trio.
Four more joined in the break but with the finish line rapidly approaching a burst from VC Londres’ Lewis Winfield dragged the field up to the escapees and the race entered the closing kilometres all together.
PH-MAS/Paul Milnes/Oldfields’ Pidcock then showed his class to outwit the field and take the win – with Friday’s prologue winner Ethan Vernon coming home fifth, four second back, which was enough to hand the stage winner the overall lead by just eight seconds ahead of Sunday’s final stage.
Pidcock in his own words
“I thought the field were easing off a little bit going into the last few kms,” he revealed. “So I knew if I attacked them on that last corner that was it.
“It was pretty difficult for me to make any real attacks in the race because everytime I nudged forward I had someone on my wheel.
“The head wind going down towards the finish was tough, I was crawling across there at times, it was pretty strong.
“I thought I could have had a better time last night on the prologue but my rear wheel slipped and the brake started to rub a little but made up for that today and Sunday looks a hard circuit so all good for me.”