A large group of Welwyn Wheelers youth riders travelled to Lancashire for the 3 day North West Tour over the Bank Holiday weekend. The event consists of a Morecombe Promenade Time Trial on day 1, followed by two road races on different courses on Day 2 and 3. The weather conditions on the Sunday hilly road circuit saw strong winds and rain break up the field of riders and the indifferent weather continued into Monday’s classic stage over an excellent new challenging course around lanes near Preston.
— Welwyn Wheelers (@welwynwheelers) August 25, 2018
The final road race had time bonuses for the first three riders at the end of each nominated lap and this proved to be the deciding factor in the result of the under 16 boys event. Oli Stockwell, in National stripes, was in second place at the start of the final stage by one second to Jack Rootkin-Gray (Solihull CC) but Oli drew level by winning the opening sprint, and followed this by picking up more time bonuses plus some positive attacking riding throughout the race. At the finish he won the final sprint from club-mate Joe Kiely to win the event overall by 17 seconds, with Joe Kiely in 4th place overall and Archie Peet in 25th.
Rizwan Hameed put in a valiant effort to complete the race but suffered in the conditions, perhaps paying the price for his epic 2x 118 mile rides to Peterborough and back the previous weekend. Oli took great pleasure in spraying Joe in (non-alcoholic) champagne on the stage 3 podium.
Ellen Bennett, Iona Moir and new youth member Ella Coleman, participating in Welwyn Wheelers strip for the first time, have clearly gelled into what looks to be a resurgent girls u16 team. The girls raced together at the sharp-end throughout the Tour and it was a particular pleasure for the travelling supporters to witness the girls picking up 5th, 8th and 12th on the final stage sprint, within a whisker of the front. Exciting that the team will be together in the u16 category next year too.
Ellie’s sister, Millie was our sole representative in the u12s category and had a fine start to her club career finishing 6th overall.
In the under 14 boys event Euan Woodliffe and Nathan Hardy were in GC contention throughout, Euan finishing in 2nd place on stages 1 and 2 and sharing the podium with Nathan, 3rd on stage 2. On the final stage Euan still had a chance of the overall win via the bonus seconds on offer but had to settle for 2nd overall after eventual winner Ben Partridge successfully contained his opposition. Calum Moir, who is still in his first u14 year, continues to impress – he oozed grit in the tough conditions and will be one to watch when he returns to this event next year.
The finish of the final stage was marred by a spectacular bunch crash which sent Caelen Miller into the barriers, and then subsequently to Preston hospital for 17 stitches to fix a nasty leg injury. Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Caelen!
A great set of results for the Wheelers riders in a top quality field of riders in tough conditions.