We had a member riding this event for the first time, Junior Jackson (making up a composite team) and riding for the Sport City Club based at the velodrome in Manchester.
Well the first day is over and if you weren’t in the top 6 at the finish then this day is one never to forget.
(Bad days happen in cycle racing).
9 laps at 5 miles per lap, undulating hills and 1.5 hours of racing. How’s about this rule, (no-one can retire for mechanical reasons or get pulled out for being lapped)! This is a team focused event and you will finish no matter what.
The 2nd lap was a sprint lap. Contention was high to gain points and valuable time bonuses towards GC. Unfortunately there was a crash with 20 or more riders involved. Two of the favourites to win the overall GC got caught in it. There were riders on top of each other and bikes in a sorry state. Junior plus 2 others on top of poor Issac Peatfield. Junior ended up having a couple of chainring teeth in his thigh, plus a punctured front tyre due to slamming into Bobby Haughtons rear mech, who now cannot finish the tour as a bent rear mech means he didn’t finish the race and is therefore disqualified. Many were injured but carried on. The SPEEDFLEX race team lost the most blood, some on Juniors left fork (sorry to be so graphic).
What’s ironic is that the crash happened at the front of the peloton and some flanking riders took the advantage. Only a handful did. Hence if you were not in top 6…
Junior ended up 1.40 mins back after this and was stuck in a six man group that wouldn’t work together.
After this crash the field was spread out into multiple small groups that consisted of 5-10 riders over a distance of approx 2 miles and this was only lap 2!
Eventually the breakaway group of six increased their lead and were out of sight of the 2nd group who were 30 seconds behind.
Juniors group finished nearly 10 minutes behind the leaders (GC aspirations blown). One of the riders in Juniors group was heard to shout to the others to slow down to wait for a group coming up from behind but they were over 25 seconds behind… Why not just work together to close the gap on the leaders.
Everyone looked glum riding back to HQ and they were all forced to watch the podium presentations. At least they can have dinner together and chat about the days events – in the end… it’s probably one to remember!.. but not one to relive.
Well at least the team was in 4th place on the overall.
“There are too many factors you have to take into account that you have no control over…The most important factor you can keep in your own hands is yourself. I always placed the greatest emphasis on that”.
The second and third stage took place today at St David’s just outside Perth.
A 7.9km TTT followed by another 60km race.
The TTT course was undulating. The boys worked well together and they all finished together. They came 12th with a time of 9.04. The winning time was about 8.45.
There were many king of the mountain and sprinters points up for grabs on the 3rd stage.
The 9 lap race saw 6 riders breakaway on lap 2 and they held the peloton off with 1 lap to go. They took all the KOM and sprinters points.
With 4 laps to go Sam Watson (Yorkshire) plus Tosh Teare (IOM) had bridged the gap and with 2 laps to go they climbed away from the other 6 riders and into the lead. In the meantime the peloton drove hard and fast to try and catch the 6 riders that were directly in front of them, 4 of the initial 6 that got away were caught. Junior was at the front with a team mate trying to pull the 6 back but sadly it was too little too late. The group sprint saw them fight for 5th position. Sam Watson finished approx 200 yards ahead of his breakaway companion to a deserved win.
Junior came in 14th and team mates were also 7th (one of the 6 breakers – Sam Pugh), 16th and 24th. This pushed the team up to fourth overall. Their aim is to finish third overall and the final stage (the hilly one!) tomorrow will decide this.
Today’s stage was a 16 lap, 45km race incorporating a steep 200 metre climb. I thought Junior would make top 5 with all the hill training he’s been doing and he was really up for it. He looked great until halfway into the first lap of the race he was involved in a crash which split the field, he then swapped bikes with a team member (the lad who was disqualified from the rest of tour since the 1st stage because of his irreparable rear mech which was damaged in a crash and he couldn’t continue). Junior having been involved in the crash was way behind the front group and with a borrowed bike which had incompatible pedals he was always going to be struggling. One of the parents checked his bike whilst junior rode on the borrowed bike. (I only discovered after the race that he was caught up in a crash).
After 2 laps he swapped back on to his own bike (confused???? – I was). The next time up the hill his rear mech got tangled in his spokes causing a split carbon dropout. His race was truly over, although he did manage to swap back onto the borrowed bike again and finish.
The race saw many attacks up the hill and because the laps were short the attackers kept getting pulled back – notably by Sam Watson and Alfie George (eventual stage and tour winner). The 20+ riders in first group finished together but well strung out.
Juniors team mates finished well down the field, one due to a puncture. For sure they have lost 4th overall position.
Nick J. (Mossley CRT Roving Reporter)