The Junior Tour of Wales is the stand out event for Juniors in this country, its been running for over 40 years and has an illustrious role call over winners including Gerraint Thomas and the Mid Devon’s own Brennan Townshend in 2010. The event attracted teams from the Isle of Man, Wales, Scotland and all the leading Junior teams were in attendance.
This year the Mid Devon entered a team of four into the one hundred rider field, to gain selection the riders had raced hard all year competing in regional and National series events and accruing enough points to qualify. Harry Jukes, Callum Start, James Pearcy and Reuben Heal were primed and ready to go – supporting them in the 3 day event were Andy Parker and Mike Gibson covering Director Sportive duty’s, Andy Jukes logistics and Dominic Start head of transport !
The opening stage featured an eight kilometre individual time trial – initially flat but finishing on the reverse side of the Tumble Mountain which proved challenging. The boys timed their efforts well finishing mid pack and setting themselves up for the next days stage. The stage was won by Max Poole who earlier in the year had become the National Road Champion.
Stage 2 was a trek over to Pembrey for an hour long sprint around the Pembrey closed road circuit – like the Velopark but more technically challenging. After a good warm up the Team took their place on the grid and held on in a fast paced, no holds barred race run off in hot conditions. The event ended in a bunch sprint with Griff Lewis from Wales claiming the sprint and the Mid Devon team safely contained in the bunch.
Stage 3 later that afternoon the lads faced a 62 mile road stage on rolling roads which proved really challenging. Once again the race was run off at a blistering pace – you’d expect nothing else from an event of this standard. 1st year Junior James Pearcy paid for his efforts earlier in the day and was tailed off at half distance eventually withdrawing from the race. At the front Josh Tarling and Josh Charlton clipped off the front in the closing stages with Charlton taking the win and Tarling the overall lead. The rest of the MDCC team finished with the leading group 10 seconds down, the overall was very close and we predicted an epic final day of racing
Stage 4, Heading into the final hilly 60 mile stage which finished on the Tumble mountain, the lads had over 100 miles of racing in their legs but were in good spirits. A team talk beforehand set the scene for the competition and gave everyone their goals. Early breaks fired up the road from the start with Harry Jukes prominent on the race radio which broadcast to the 20 team cars in the convoy and gave the MDCC car a reason to cheer ! Later in the stage Harry would pay for his efforts but it was great to see him mixing it up with the best.
The stage featured three King of the Mountains climbs which the early break tackled at speed, over the course of the race riders would be dropped from the lead group and fresh legs would bridge the gap providing renewed impetus. On to the final climb the race shattered with riders climbing in ones and two’s and trying to maintain rhythm on the 1 in 8 slopes – it was like the retreat from Stalingrad.
Both Callum and Reuben put in excellent rides and climbed through the field to finish together in 42nd/43rd position and a similar spot overall. As 1st year Juniors the event has set them up well for a return in 2022 and a tilt at the overall places.
Tyler Hannay from the Isle of Man won the race overall and we wish him the best for his future racing career
All the lads had a great weekend and took away many learning points , which its impossible to pick up in local races. Many thanks to everyone that helped and to the club for providing support via the Dartmoor Classic funding.
Thanks also to our friends at Lucho Dillitos for supplying the team with their fantastic energy products
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