August Bank Holiday 2018
Five stages, four jerseys, one bank holiday weekend, one hundred riders and over 200 miles of the best racing roads in the UK. The SD Sealants Junior Tour of Wales is the grand finale to the British Cycling Junior Road Series, and an event riders all over the world are eager to add to their palmares.
The 37th edition of the race, and the first Junior Tour of Wales Four Day is done. We saw the best riders around fight for supremacy, from a balmy Friday evening, when PH-MAS/Milnes/Oldfield sensation Tom Pidcock carried on where he left off from last year, stamping his intent all over the race with a dominant time trial victory. 2016 winner Fred Wright of VC Londres set out to double his haul of Junior Tour jerseys with a win in the race’s first King of the Mountains climb.
Saturday saw a sun-baked dash to the west, where Wheelbase-Cabtech’s Will Turner opened his Junior Tour account after over a hundred kilometers of exciting, flat out racing, pipping VC Londres’ Lewis Winfield in the tightest of finishes. As Wright exerted a vice-like grip on the polka-dot jersey, Ulster’s John Buller grabbed Green Jersey with a tour de force in the stage’s intermediate sprints.
Sunday turned into Joe Day, as Scotland’s Joe Nally doubled up with wins at Parc Bryn Bach and the super-fast sprinter’s stage east of Abergavenny. As the GC contenders tried to conserve their energy, Sussex Revolution’s Joe Hill earned himself the Junior Tour’s Green Jersey after dominating the intermediate sprints, although, just behind him, Wales’ Rhys Britton was laying the groundwork for a final day charge. First year rider Ben Healy, already wearing the Blue Jersey of Best Young Rider, sneaked into the decisive break and reduced Pidcock’s overall lead to just six seconds. The stage was perfectly set for the grand finale…
Monday turned out as glorious as the rest of the weekend, with Salt Ayre’s Ben Barlow and Identity Racing’s Michael Hall the first to chance their legs as the race wound out over the sun-bathed, breathtaking Brecon Beacons. Welshman Britton, calculating his effort earlier in the race, sealed the Green Jersey, following in the illustrious wheeltracks of countrymen Matt and Luke Rowe, Jon Mould Owain Doull and Joe Holt, while Wright’s ownership of the KoM was confirmed
In the end though, almost inevitably, it came down to The Tumble, and all the major contenders climbing it together. Fittingly, the Yellow Jersey finished JTW17 as he began it – winning.
Congratulations to Tom Pidcock, winner, Fred Wright, King of the Mountains, Rhys Britton, King of the Sprints and Ben Healy, Best Young Rider, SD Sealants Junior Tour of Wales 2017. And to Oscar Mingay, winner, British Cycling Junior Road Series 2017. To all the riders and finishers – well done. Whether you are coming back next year, or moving on up, we’ll see you soon.
The SD Sealants Junior Tour of Wales
August Bank Holiday 2018
Photographs courtesy of and © Huw Fairclough, and Guy Swarbrick, Andy Whitehouse for British Cycling