The Welsh Cycling Project 2018 youth teams travelled to the Isle of Man for the three day stage race over the bank holiday weekend. The event was the second in the 2013 National Youth Series. Megan Barker, Megan Chard, Emily Haycox and Ffion James rode in the Youth A girls events, with Alex Harvey, Joe Holt, Nicholas Jones and Peter kibble competing in the Youth A boys competition.
Stage one, the individual time trial took place on Douglas Promenade on Friday evening. All of the Project 2018 riders put in a good effort along the promenade and gave the new Wiggle DHB cycling kit its’ first outing.
An overcast second day of racing was instore for the youth riders on Saturday. A hilly closed road circuit stage in Marown tested the riders. The Youth A girls were active in the race and made attacks, working together as a team. Megan Barker made the break with Abbie Mae-Parkinson and Elizabeth Holden, and with two laps to go Barker was leading. Ffion, Emily and Megan Chard worked together to control the race with the aim of a stage win for the team. Barker rode on the front for the final lap, and managed to win the stage for Project 2018.
The Youth A boys also put in a strong performance with Nicholas Jones and Peter Kibble strong on the climbs. Together the team worked to control the stage with the aim of a win for the team. However the hilly course was a challenge for the team, and they didn’t clinch the win on Saturday.
Sundays final stage in Ramsey tested the team spirit for both the boys and girls. The Youth A girls aimed to defend the yellow jersey worn by Megan Barker. With Megan Barker in the lead, Ffion Emily and Megan Chard continued to work together and were committed to the jobs they had to do in the race. This proved successful for the team, as Megan Barker ended stage three in seventh, but secured the yellow jersey with the overall win at the Isle of Man Youth Tour.
The Youth A boys were still after their first stage win of the weekend. After looking at the course, the team aimed to control the race for as long as possible to end with a bunch gallop. This allowed the team’s strongest sprinter, Joe Holt, to sprint for the finish and claim the lucrative stage win.
Alex Greenfield, Team Manager for the Project 2018 youth teams at the weekend was impressed with how the riders worked together over the weekend: “ There was a great sense of team spirit over the weekend with riders looking out for each other and learning how to work as a team in a race, whether they are working towards a stage win or to defend a jersey. The highlights of the weekend were the teams achieving their goals of two stage wins, both for the boys and girls.
Competing at stage events in their final years as youth riders also prepares them for progressing to the junior ranks. They have learnt a lot about recovery and how to fuel your body in order to keep going over three stages. They also learnt about preparing for each stage in warm ups and the experience of competing as a team is invaluable.
There was a strong Welsh presence on the island this weekend, which is great to see. There were strong performances for many Welsh riders throughout the youth ranks.”
Full results, reports and images from the weekend are available from British Cycling.
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