Lowe takes National Junior title

 


The organisers’ requests for good weather for both days of the Junior National Road Race Championships seemed to have been approved as the Men’s race rolled out of Brymawr in glorious sunshine – although there was a slight nip in the air.

Rolling along the Heads of the Valleys Road towards Merthyr Tydfil the pace was high but the bunch was relaxed as they headed in to the Brecon Beacons National Park. An hour in and there were four riders away – Matt Hargroves of Hargroves Cycles, Andy Shackel of VC St Raphael, Stuart McCluskey of Leslie Bike Shop and Jack Plummer of Cadence Sport a minute up on another quartet – Jacob Scott of Planet X, Craig Wallace of Granite City RT, Sebastian Bayliss of Mid Devon CC and Jake Womersley of Sportscover Altura RT.

With five riders another two minutes behind and the remains of the peloton another two further back the chances of the leaders staying away looked good but they couldn’t hold the pace and Hargorves and Shackel dropped back as the lead groups came back together.

By Pengenfford 30km from the finish the lead group consisted of 19 riders – including McCluskey, Plummer, Scott, Wallace, Bayliss and Womersley – as well as Tao Geoghegan Hart of CC Hackney, Sam Lowe of Hargroves Cycles, Alex Peters of Mosquito Bikes, Jake Kelly of Team Microgaming Isle of Man and defending champion Dan Pearson of Wilier Live2Ride.

The road then took them out to the 4km climb back up to Brynmawr which had played such a big part in yesterday’s Women’s race and by the top the group was down to nine riders and the crowd in the market square in Brynmawr saw the final stages of a game of cat and mouse.

The rider that finally made the move was Lowe and he left the rest of the group for dead, taking a comfortable victory ahead of Bayliss and Kelly at the head of the bunch sprint.

Speaking to British Cycling after the race, newly crowned National Champion Lowe said “With [team mate] Matt Hargroves in the early break, me and Jon [Dibben] were just in the bunch and the break went out pretty quick and we let it go. I was waiting more to the end of the race to make a move.

“We stayed together in the bunch up on to the moors and then it started to split. There was a group with Tao and a few others and me and Alex Peters bridged across to that group – that was pretty tough – and then when we got across to that group we just went through and off until we caught up with the lead group.

“Then we got to the climb and it was just fairly ‘tempo’ up there, so I managed to stay with them on the climb. Then for the rest of the race it was just through and off and with about 15km to go I managed to get off the front with three others and we rode through and off up the bottom of the climb. And then as you saw it was cat and mouse at the end and I just led out the sprint.

“I’d planned to get in a break and then sprint for it at the end, but I didn’t expect to go so early in the moors and then stay in that group I was in. I was expecting a few more attacks from Alex Peters and Tao with them being better up the climbs.”

Results:

1 Sam Lowe (Hargroves Cycles) 3:04.16
2 Sebastian Bayliss (Mid Devon CC) @ 2sec
3 Jake Kelly (Team Microgaming Isle of Man) same time
4 George Pym (Exeter Wheelers) same time
5 Will Stephenson (Primera Sport) same time
6 Ashley Proctor (Sportscover Altura RT) same time
7 Tao Geoghegan Hart (CC Hackney) same time
8 Dan Pearson (Wilier Live2Ride) same time
9 Alex Peters (Mosquito Bikes) same time
10 Craig Wallace (Granite City RT)

Welsh Junior Road Race Championships:
1 Dan Pearson (Wilier Live2Ride) 3:04.18
2 Ed Laverack (Team Tredz) @ 2mins7secs
3 William Worrall (M&D Cycles) 2mins30secs

Location: Nantyglo, Brymawr
Event: 13 May 2012
Report and Images: Guy Swarbrick

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