Location: Nantyglo, Brymawr
Event: 24-26 August 2013
Report: Guy Swarbrick
Video: Malwyn Ransom
The third stage of the Junior Tour of Wales on the tough Parc Bryn Bach course has a tendency to blow the field apart within a lap and a half, and this year was no exception. As 80 riders spread themselves around the course, the frontrunners set a blistering pace and were lapping riders with 12 circuits to go in the short 30-km leg.
The lead group contained all the major contenders – yellow jersey-holder Scott Davies (Wales A), James Knox (Champion Systems/Maxgear/Base) in the King of the Mountains jersey and second-placed Dutch rider Sam Oomen and Jacob Scott (Team Microgaming Isle of Man), the runaway leader in the points competition who put his green jersey across the line in first place in the opening two sprints to increase his tally to 20 points.
The group also contained national road race champion Chris Lawless (Kuota-Spinergy-GSG) who made a break with two laps to go and, although he didn’t manage to open up a substantial lead, the bunch was never able, or fully committed, to chase him down. Although Lawless was seventh overall at the start of the stage, he was 1:21 off the lead – a gap that he was never going to make up on a stage like this.
Behind him the last coherent group of the race was split apart in the run in to the line with James Shaw (Forme Bikes) taking second place at the head of the bunch 15 seconds back. Matt Gibson (Velocity-WD40) took third place.
With Davies, Oomen and Knox all given the same time in the main bunch, the overall standings remained the same with Davies holding on to his slender one second lead. Lawless moved up a place to sixth, splitting Team De Ver duo Ashley Dennis and Ben Chapman. Lawless also moved up to second place in the points competition.
Stage 4, which loops round the A40 from just outside Abergavenny to Raglan, is the flattest of the race and, consequently, the fastest of the weekend.
A couple of attacks early on – first by Zach May (Wales A) and Youri van Lersel (TWC Pijnenburg) and then, more successfully, by Scottish duo Gavin Shuttleworth (Team ASL360) and Hector Lancaster (Spokes RT) animated the early part of the race.
Shuttleworth, who was first over the line, and Lancaster were away long enough to take the first sprint at Hardwick and the duo pulled out 45 seconds on the main bunch until a substantial group set off in pursuit.
Owen James (Wales A), Aidan Quinn (Scotland), Andy Leigh (Velocity WD-40), Joe Wiltshire (Wales B), Gabriel Cullaigh (RST Racing Team) and Mark Stewart (Team ASL360) were already starting to make inroads when they were joined by Levi Moody (RST), James King (Team Sporstcover-Haribo), Leon Mazzone (Team Microgaming Isle of Man) and Fintan Ryan (NRPT Standard Life).
As the gap came down to 35 secobds, with the peloton a further 35 seconds behind, Quinn was dropped, but there was no let-up among the remainder and eventually the front duo’s lead was whittled away while the gap to the peloton continued to increase.
As they turned on to the A40 the leaders all came together, 1:10 ahead of the main bunch, and the gap continued to ease out as they tore along the dual carriageway, going out to over a minute and a half.
As as the peloton entered Penpergwm for the penultimate time the gap was down to a minute.
Ryan and, permanently this time, Quinn were dropped in the run up to the points sprint, which Mazzone took from James, but the peloton crossed the finish line to take the bell just 40 seconds behind the escapees.
Stewart was dropped from the lead group as it responded and picked up the pace – easing the gap back out over the minute mark.
It was Leigh who led the leading group at the 1-km to go marker, but as the sprint wound up it was King who moved to the front and managed to get a little daylight between himself and his rivals. He took the win by a second from Moody with James in third.
The peloton had pulled the gap back to 23 seconds and with all the leading riders overall safely there, it meant no change at the top. Mazzone moved up to second in the points standings behind Jakob Scott.
1 Chris Lawless (Kuota-Spinergy-0GSG) 44-04
2 James Shaw (Forme Bikes UK) at 15 sec
3 Matt Gibson (Velocity WD-40) same time
4 Jake Kelly (Team Microgaming Isle of Man)
5 Danny Fox (RST Racing Team)
6 Owen James (Wales A)
7 Connor Swift (Bike Box Alan/Whiston Velo)
8 Gwyn Lovibond (Wales B )
9 Scott Davies (Wales A)
10 Jake Womersley (Team Sportscover-Haribo)
1 James King (Sportscover-Haribo) 1-37-29
2 Levi Moody (RST Racing Team) at 1 sec
3 Owen James (Wales A)
4 Gabriel Cullaigh (RST Racing Team)
5 Leon Mazzone (Team Microgaming Isle of Man) all same time
6 Andy Leigh (Velocity WD-40) at 5 sec]
7 Joseph Wiltshire (Wales B) at 6 sec
8 Chris Lawless (Kuota-Spinergy-GSG) at 23 sec
9 Oliver Wood (Sportscover-Haribo)
10 Matt Gibson (Velocity WD-40) all same time
1 Scott Davies (Wales A) 4-26-53
2 Sam Oomen (TWC Pijnenburg) aqt 1 sec
3 James Knox (Champion System/Maxgear/Base) at 23 sec
4 Eddie Dunbar (Sensa Munster) at 48 sec
5 Ashley Dennis (Team De Ver) at 1-01
6 Chris Lawless (Kuota-Spinergy-GSG) at 1-05
7 Ben Chapman (Team De Ver) at 1-17
8 Joe Evans (Hargroves Cycles-Specialized) at 1-26
9 James Shaw (Forme Bikes UK) at 1-28
10 Jake Kelly (Team Microgaming Isle of Man) at 1-36
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