Richard Handley took the best result of the year for the young development riders in the Rapha Condor Sharp team, when he took home the white jersey of best young rider from the An-Post RAS yesterday.
With the teams more experienced contingent having their hands full at the second week of the Tour Series, the 8-day Irish race was the first definitive target for the development riders as a group this year. Team manager John Herety was delighted with his squad’s performance over the testing week-long Irish race, “This is a very busy time of year with all the races that are happening now, but we came here with a young team with a specific target of winning the white jersey. Bringing a team comprised just of young riders, with no experienced mentor among them, was an important step, and the Ras was the perfect opportunity to do that.”
“What I wanted to see was a team performance over a long stage race, and after showing well at races like Korea, we saw the young guys step up a level here and take charge of themselves on the road as a team.” Handley had already shown great form throughout the season with two wins and a Premier Calendar podium to his name already, and after he instinctively spotted danger and jumped across to the race defining move on the second day, he put himself in a position to win the jersey.
“We didn’t start the race with any one given leader, but after Rich took the jersey he showed the boys on the following stages that he was strong enough to defend it to the finish. The team rallied around him then and rode really well after that.”
“The Ras is a race that is hard to control, and it is tough on riders mentally as well as physically. The attacks are unrelenting and the short tough climbs come all-day everyday. In that sense, this race was ideal for our guys to learn how to race as a team.”
In fact the men in black were represented in all the important moves of the race and, with the full team’s support, Handley rode consistently well to always finish among the select groups that made it to the line each day. Handley finally finished the race in a fine 5th place overall, with the Rapha Condor Sharp team taking third in the teams classification. This result made the team, as well as Handley, the best British finishers.
The team’s focus now switches entirely to the Halfords Tour Series that continues this Tuesday in Peterborough. While the young riders from the Ras squad will mostly be recovering, team manager John Herety will look at the possibility of changing squads into the third week of the series.