Climbing galore at the Junior Tour of the Mendips

Sunday 9 April

Over the weekend, we were down in Somerset for the Screentek International Junior Tour of The Mendips, the second round of the British Cycling Junior National Series.

The race consisted of a 7km prologue on Saturday morning followed by a 100km rolling road race in the afternoon and then an 80km brutally hilly stage on Sunday.

The prologue went brilliantly for the team, with Theo powering to a time of 10:29 which bagged him a superb third place on the stage. It was Oscar Mingay of Team Wales who took the win, just over a second quicker than Theo. Elliot, George and Sam were taking it fairly easy ahead of stage one in the afternoon.

Going into road race, Theo was wearing the KOM jersey, owing to the first and second placed riders in the prologue wearing the GC and Sprints jerseys, respectively. The stage was fast and this meant that the brave riders who chose to attack were unable to gain much of an advantage. After around 60km, there was a bad crash involving George Wharton of the Spokes Racing Team. George came down badly and needed an ambulance so the race was black flagged and Saturday’s competition came to a close.

We are glad to report that George hasn’t suffered any serious injuries and we wish him a full and speedy recovery.

Stage two treated the riders to some of the toughest climbing on the calendar. Characterised by three savage ascents, clocking in 1,100m of elevation, the final stage was a real leg sapper.

There were a flurry of early attacks, with George making a strong move with Dylan Hughes from Spokes. At one point they had 25 seconds but they were eventually brought back.

It was on the second climb of the day, however, where the main selection was made. The 20% gradient split the field into multiple groups, with Theo at the front and Elliot in the second group after just missing the split.

The groups stayed as such until the final climb to the finish when it all blew apart once again. A group of five crossed the line together, with Tobias Dahlhaus taking a superb win. Oscar Mingay finished safely in fifth to seal the overall victory.

Theo battled to cross the line in 26th place, 52 seconds behind Dahlhaus, and Elliot rode strongly up the final ascent, bagging third in his group and 31st on the stage. George struggled after his committed attack, but finished the stage, and Sam found his limit after a less than ideal build up to the event in which he was off the bike for two weeks through illness.

It was a great weekend for the team, with Theo’s third in the prologue the highlight of the event of us. There were certainly lots of positives to take away for all four of our riders.

Thank you to the organisers and everyone involved in putting on such a fantastic race.

Photo credit: Alex Reed