Junior Tour of Wales 2017 Harrison Wood
I’ve had a very busy racing schedule this year, both abroad and within the UK. I was interested to see how i would cope with the end of season stage race.
Stage 1 was a 5.2 mile tt going up a climb, then rolling downhill then up the short side of the tumble which is steep. I rode it very hard and pretty well to get 10th on the stage but 3rd fastest up the finishing climb. 49 seconds behind Tom Pidcock who won!
Stage 2 was the Rhigos mountain stage. This to me looked brutal and it certainly was. A cheeky crash in the neutral section after the rider in front caught a wheel. Luckily I landed on him. I was however feeling a bit nervous so worked my way toward the front and was following the attacks instead of sitting in the bunch which was a bit choppy. After a climb I got away with a HMT rider and a Welsh team rider. We established a 2 minute gap to the bunch and we’re 1 min behind the break. However this news also reached the bunch and around 30 riders started chasing. We were quickly bought back as we’re the other group. I then sat in and stayed near the front before Rhigos where I followed the wheels and moves and came over the line in 25th position but in the main gc boys group which was only around 30 riders. This pushed me up to 8th on GC. A good day out!
Stage 3 was a brutal crit. Not much to say other than I got round in the bunch but lost 8 seconds to the leader which put me down to 9th on GC.
Stage 4 was the flat fast dual carriageway stage. This was fairly comfortable so I took the opportunity to attack a few times. To no avail I rolled in with the bunch. A move had however gone clear after I’d attacked and been bought back. This stuck and I slipped to 11th on GC going into the final stage Stage 5 was an all or nothing scenario for me. Try and fail or try and succeed. Sadly it wasn’t the later that occurred. I got stuck in early and was attacking and covering moves made by the bigger hitters. This left me however fatigued with 10 miles to go. This wasn’t good. The tumble mountain loomed in the distance. I was sat mid bunch when an neg motorbike forced some of the bunch including me to slow down and have to sprint to get back on terms with the leaders. I then sat at my own tempo but I’d cracked and had nothing left. I was passing riders though and came 44th on the stage but slipped down to 26th on GC. I also came 10th in the KOM competition and 12th In the sprint competition!
A very hard 4 days of racing. I will be racing the Phillipe Gilbert junior race this coming weekend so hopefully I’ll be able to get myself up there in what is the highest regarded junior race in Europe!
Junior Tour of Wales Louie Priddle
The Junior Tour of Wales was a race I’d been looking forward to racing since the start of the year. Luckily I was able to ride after being given a place after someone pulled out. The race consisted of 5 stages over 4 days. Friday: TT Saturday: 70 mile road race Sunday: circuit race + 50 mile road race Monday: 50 mile road race We arrived on the Friday and me and Harrison rolled out from HQ to recce the course for the TT in the evening. It was a short TT which finished up the Tumble.
Stage 1: I set off at 18:55 began the 5 mile journey to the top of the tumble. It was a pretty sketchy TT with many cattle grids in the road. I finished the TT with a time of 14.32. 1min30 down on the winner, Tom Pidcock.
Stage 2: After a good nights sleep and a good breakfast the following morning after the TT I was ready to start the first road stage. The was the hilliest stage and the longest stage of the race so was going to be a tough’n. I spent the race just sitting in the bunch and trying to stay up front to the race leaders. We approached the final climb and I didn’t quite have the legs to hold onto the yellow jersey group and finished around 1 minuet down on them.
Stage 3: The circuit race. I knew full well I was going to suffer in the crit because of the stage the day before and how the legs were feeling. I was dropped from the main group about 4 laps into a 1hr race so I found a group and took it steady to try and save some legs for the road race in the afternoon. Which I knew was going to be a smash fest being the flattest road race stage.
Stage 4: The flat road race. This was probably my most favourite stage because of how fast it was! We had an avg speed at the end of the stage of 26.7mph for 100km. I was able to stay up front and hold my own. I tried to get into a break but didn’t quite have the legs to pull through with it and was brought back fairly quickly. So I just stayed up front and tried to stay away from any trouble which I might get into being at the back of the peloton.
Stage 5: The Tumble. The last stage was another savage one. Race leader Tom P was still in yellow and he sure didn’t want to loose it. Any attacks which looked dangerous were brought back meaning it was very stop start for the majority of the race. I thought to myself if I can get to the bottom of the tumble I’ll be happy. And even happier if I can stay in the leading group over the finish. That didn’t quite happen. The race hit the bottom of the climb and the whole peloton blew up, riders splintered all over the hill. I rolled in a way back but was happy to get around without any issues! Overall I really enjoyed the experience and learnt a lot of things about stage racing! I can’t wait to race it again next year where I’ll know what to expect. Thanks to MDCC for the support and Dad for taking me to the Race. Also a big shoutout to Ian Cullen for lending me his TT bike and TT helmet for the first stage – Massive help