Images: Guy Swarbrick / British Cycling
Over the weekend (10th / 11th June), HMT Cycling Team were once again racing in the UK, this time the Scottish countryside provided the backdrop for an exciting 2 day stage race, The Spokes Junior Kingdom Classic. The race, now in it’s 3rd addition consisted of 2 road stages, 107km and 97km in length .
Stage 1: St.Andrews – Falkland Craigmead
Stage 1 rolled out under the stone arch in the iconic university town of St.Andrews, where an 85 rider field embarked on a tough 107km stage, culminating in a hilltop finish which would ultimately decide the top 3 overall on GC.
With such a critical climb at the end of the stage, it appeared nobody wanted to commit too early, with only a few attacks being launched but none managing to gain any considerable distance over the peloton.
As the peloton approached the final climb, it was Tim Torrie driving the pace on the front, attempting to give James Mitri the perfect springboard to attack the climb.
The riders now approaching the finish, and the head of the race was completely in bits with Louis Rose-Davies, Oscar Mingay, Daniel Coombes and HMT’s James Mitri applying the pressure.
It was Louis Rose-Davies who took the stage win, with Mitri placing 4th just 5 seconds back. It was now time to look forward to stage 2 where Mitri would challenge for GC and Will Draper who had picked up a handful of KOM points, would be hunting for polka dots.
Stage 2: The Cults Stage
With the top 4 riders all within 5 seconds of each other, the second stage was set to be an exciting race, especially with a course that suited a breakaway. However it was the opposite of this for the first half of the race, as the peloton cruised around the twisty Scottish lanes.
As the raced near 30km to go, the nerves started to settle in the peloton and a group of 2 riders slipped off the front, Dylan Hughes and Jacques Sauvagnargues. These 2 breakaway riders pulled out an advantage which seemed to be staying stable at 1 minute. Recognising an opportunity, HMT’s Ben Turner launched an attack in a bid to catch the 2 leaders. Getting within 10 seconds Turner was so close, unfortunately the peloton recognised the danger in Turner and managed to regain contact.
Meanwhile the 2 leaders continued to press on, with the peloton showing little interest until it was to late…
Sauvagnargues took the stage win from the breakaway, with Jamie Ridehalgh taking 2nd in the bunch kick placing him 4th on the stage.
Will Draper rode well, realising his goal of securing the Mountains classification. With consistent rides all round, HMT also secured the team classification, a good indicator as we near closer to the Junior Tour of the Basque Country, where a strong team performance is crucial to GC success.
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