When the NFTO Junior Tour of Wales cycle race gets underway on Saturday 24 August, 100 of the strongest 16-18 year old riders will battle for the yellow jersey and the chance to follow in the footsteps of Olympic and World Champions Geraint Thomas and Mark Cavendish, who also made their mark at this prestigious race.
Hugh Carthy leads in yellow at the 2012 RIS Junior Tour of Wales
Chief Judge Richard Hopkins says. “We’re really seeing the Olympic Effect here; the breadth and quality of this year’s entry is astounding, although unfortunately that means one of the hardest jobs we’ve had to do is deciding who starts and who is unlucky to find themselves on the reserve list.
Many of the top riders have been honing their skills on the continent over the last couple of months, and know the race from last year. Jake Kelly of the Isle of Man is leading the National Junior Series – but a dozen others are within striking distance. Jake Womersley and James King (Team Sportscover) and Scott Davies of Wales are coming in with strong teams. So is Gabriel Cullaigh (RST Racing), but he hasn’t ridden the Tour before, so we’ll see if the lack of experience counts against him. British Junior Champion, Chris Lawless (Kuota-Spinergy) and last year’s final stage winner James Knox (Champion System) will have the legs, but are lacking support, which could be crucial. There are so many other strong riders who will make them work for it.
We also have teams from Holland and Ireland, and, for the first time, the USA to keep the home guys on their toes. It’s going to be amazing to watch, and whoever comes away from this with a stage win, or a jersey, will know they’ve been in a race – and beaten the best.”
The Tour kicks off with an individual time trial from Brynmawr to Blaenavon at 10.30am on Saturday morning. That is followed by a road race starting at 3.00pm in Brynmawr town centre and running around the Black Mountains to a finish above Llangynidr.
Sunday morning sees the riders tackle 10 laps of Bryn Bach Park from 10.30am before a stage for future Cavendishes – a sprint spectacular around Abergavenny and Raglan starting from Nantyglo Leisure Centre at 3.00pm.
The fifth and final, 55 mile road stage starts at 10.30am on Monday morning and sees the riders head out along the Heads of the Valleys road to Penderyn before heading towards Brecon and skirting Abergavenny before confronting the fearsome three mile climb to the top of the Tumble Mountain.
For more information contact race organiser Talbot Thrush, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07931 841362