Yesterday I rode the Youth CiCLE classic race, it was a great vibe and although the day didnt go entirely to plan, the organisation and quality of the racing made up for that a little. The race took place in the small village of Owston, on the border of Leicestershire. The flavor of the race was amazing, with barbecues, music and commentating from the early hours, a real festive atmosphere similar to that of races abroad.
Our race was a miniature version of the highly prestige UCI ranked senior race, contested over a mile long circuit, it was by far the most interesting British circuit I have ever ridden. Narrow cornering lanes combined with an almost single track sector of farm track and a uphill finish ensured some great racing was to follow.
The race started with a crash, splitting the bunch slightly, ensuring it stayed in one long line for pretty much the remainder of the race. I placed myself inside the top ten, aware that a crash or puncture would result in the end of anyones race, even so early on. The pressure was applied and a few attacks made but nothing was going to stick so early on.
After about eight laps the lead group had been reduced from fifty starters to ten riders, we where scheduled to ride around thirty five miles so no one really wanted to commit to early on. The race distance was about ten miles shorter than I raced in Belgium last year, I was hopefull to use this to my advantage, piling the pressure on in the latter part of the race.
With the race being a qualifying event for the Youth Olympics I was hoping for some attacking riding, however coming into the last ten laps the group seemed more content to sit on and wait it out for a sprint. I attacked numerous times over the hill but found it hard to get away, with a corner immediately after the hill slowing any speed you had just gained in an attack down. I kept trying but coming into the last lap was aware a bunch kick was to prevail and held of in order to try and pull something out of the bag. I was third wheel into the last corner, however the rider infront lost his wheel and Chris Lawless powered away at the head of the race, I was blocked in for a moment before opening up a long sprint in the hope I might catch him. With about twenty metres to go Ollie Wood came around me and so I ended up third on the day. I was pretty gutted not too have won but aware I needed to learn from my mistakes.
I would just like to say a huge thankyou to the organisers of the race, it was a real success, and hopefully more British races will follow in its path allowing the top British youth riders to race on actual roads!
Mum took this picture of the podium yesterday, I will add some more photos over the next few days as people upload them, should be some great ones of us rocketing along the gravel!