RST Racing Team showed strong performances on day one of the NFTO Junior Tour of Wales with Joey Walker winning stage one and team mate Nathan Draper taking the win on stage two.
Stage One was a 7km time trial taking riders through the beautiful Welsh town of Brynmawr, concluding at the summit of the famous Tumble mountain in Abergavenny. The stage began with 100 riders, with international riders from across Europe.
The stage saw many obstacles; undulating hilly terrain, a tough uphill start and local sheep alongside the course. The rider that reigned supreme was Joey Walker, RST Racing Team, who clocked an impressive time of 11:43.76.
With stage one not your average club time trial, with very steep gradients shortly after the start and through all 7km, riders could choose whether to opt for full time trial set up or use road bikes. Some riders opted for specialist time trial bikes whilst others took to road bikes with some adjustments.
Joey Walker, stage one winner said: "I opted for my full TT bike, as it suited the way I rode well. Also I’m pretty comfortable in that position. It’s all about a riders personal style and preference. I'm not used to the hills in a time trial, my local time trials are pretty flat so this was different and more challenging.”
Robert Scott, VCUK PH-MAS Junior Cycling Team took second, with Nathan Draper, RST Racing Team third, Peter Kibble fourth and Ethan Hayter completing the top five.
Joey Walker took the yellow and polka dot jersey, to be worn by Peter Kibble, Wales, into stage 2. The blue young rider jersey was awarded to Robert Scott, VCUK PH-MAS Junior cycling team.
Stage one, TT (Brynmawr to The Tumble):
1 Joey Walker (RST RT) 11.43
2 Rob Scott (SCUK PH MAS) 12.00
3 Nathan Draper (RST RT) 12.05
Stage two saw a ferociously contended stage with an early break away group staying away until the bottom of the Llangynidr climb, where it became a battle between Nathan Draper and Alfie Moses for the win.
The stage started in Brynmawr where it then followed a series of twisty country roads to the base of Llangyndir Mountain where the riders began, an uphill battle to the finish. Nathan Draper RST Racing Team bagged the fiercely contested stage win, also taking the yellow jersey from the shoulders of his teammate Joey Walker. Draper was closely followed in by Alfie Moses HMT academy with Ethan Hayter VC Londres in third.
The break of the day occurred when 8 riders Touche, Fallon, Navarro, Kibble, Roche, Holt, Meredith and O’Mahony darted up the road opening a gap of a minute over the rest of the peloton. A crash within the lead group brought down some of the stage contenders, including the King of the Mountains jersey, Peter Kibble, with Reece Wood Velocity Globalbike retiring from the race. Kibble managed to return to the race to take 8th on the stage. He later tweete: "Day hasn't ended as planned but still in the running. Many stitches but I'm patched up and ready for tomorrow."
With a number of Sprint points on offer, Joe Holt, Wales performed well to take all of the sprints on offer securing a solid lead in the points classification to wear the green jersey going in to the second day of racing. Holt won the green jersey in 2014 and will hope to defend it in 2015.
“Today was a really tough day. I won the first sprint, which was hotly contested due to the time bonus up for grabs. I managed to get in the break after the first KOM. We (Wales) worked really well together. After the second sprint the course got tougher and we hit the rolling roads where a few people started to suffer. I managed to win that last sprint, taking a cleean sweep. I won the green jersey last year and will try my best to keep it tomorrow.”
Going in to stage three Nathan Draper, RST Racing Team wears the yellow jersey. Joe Holt, Wales, wears the green Sprint jersey, Joey Walker, RST Racing Team, wears the King of the Mountains with Ethan Hayter VC Londres awarded the blue young riders jersey.
Stage two (Brynmawr to Llangynidr Mountain):
1 Nathan Draper (RST RT) 1.57.35
2 Alfie Moses (HMT Academy) at 11sec
3 Ethan Hayter (VC Londres) at 19sec
4 Adam Stenson (Roche Perf Team) at 25sec
5 Joey Walker (RST RT) at 27sec
Overall positions (after stage two):
1 Nathan Draper (RST RT) 2:09.30
2 Joey Walker (RST RT) at 15sec
3 Ethan Hayter (VC Londres) at 36sec
4 Peter Kibble (Wales) at 44sec
5 Joe Fry (RST RT) at 54sec
Overall Team: RST Racing Team 6:29.40