Seb Balylis wins the opening stage of the Tour of the Mendips Junior stage race, part of the Peter Buckley Junior National Series
South West rider Seb Balylis took the short journey from home to the other side of the Medips to take today’s stage 1 based around Chew Valley Lake.
Unlike last year, the weather was a good deal cooler but with the race being ran at an incredibly fast pace, the riders soon warmed up. The action got away almost immediately with one of Seb’s fellow South West riders, Jack Plummer, who rides for Bath based outfit Cadence Aero, jumping clear and carving out an advantage on his own.
This seamed to spark off a flurry of breaks over the next few laps as small groups tried to forge out a gap on the main bunch who were allowing the gaps to grow. BCDS rider Dan McKimm also managed to get into a break for some time before the first serious attack came from Hargroves Cycles rider Jon Dibben who was third in the Junior Paris-Roubaix recently.
This move got the bunch worried and a concerted effort by the teams not represented in the break eventually pulled everyone back together. Both of the BCDS riders were looking comfortable in the bunch and were prominent towards the front of the group proudly displaying the new look BCDS kit.
Former BCDS member Charley Bradley-Veilands, who now rides for the Bath based Willier-live2ride team was looking good until the midway point when a sudden movement in the bunch to avoid a pothole caused him to come down hard in Bishop Sutton, just a few miles away from his home typically enough. He quickly remounted and gave chase but with the field never dropping below 30pmh it was too much of an ask.
In the bunch, attacks were continuing to come thick and fast as riders looked to jump away before what was looking incredibly like the investment in booking the photo finish would be paying dividend with a bunch sprint on the cards.
The riders knew that with a narrow & twisty section in the final 600m, any rider carrying an advantage into the chicane stood a great chance of staying away. As it turned out though, it was a small group of around eight riders in the lead including eventual winner Bayliss, Jack Plummer, Stuart McCluskey, Scott Davies, Ed Laverack, Ben Lamb, Jo Moses, Owen James, and Joe Kirkham of Hargroves Cycles quickly followed by a fast approaching bunch that were bearing down on them as the finish line drew ever closer.
Seb Baylis from the Mid Devon CC emerged the winner taking the sprint and with it the coveted Yellow Jersey for the start of tomorrows hilly affair in the ‘Mendips’ as the riders tackle the climbs of Burrington coombe, Blagdon hill and two climbs of Harptree hill which are all certain to shake up the GC.
For the home team, BCDS, both Dan Marshal & McKimm finished safely in the bunch and start on the same time as all but eight of the breakaway riders. Lets see what their climbing is like tomorrow.
1. Seb Bayliss, Mid Devon
2. Ed Laverack, Team Tredz
3. Scott Davies, M&D Cycles /Kinetica RT