Royal London 360 Youth Cyclists Impress in Ireland

There were some excellent performances from the Team Royal London 360 Isle of Man riders who competed in the recent Mayo International Youth Tour in Ireland. Competing against top young riders from as far afield as South Africa, Spain and Holland, the thirteen strong Manx squad picked up three stage wins, two top three placings overall and several age category victories.

The four-stage event was held over three days on the roads in and around Kiltamagh, Co. Mayo and consisted of two road races, a short time trial and a super fast town centre criterium.

In the under 12 class William Draper rode brilliantly to win the two road race stages, finish second in the criterium and take third in the time trial. However, he just failed to claw back the time he lost in the time trial and had to settle for second place and leading under 11 rider in the overall standings, a narrow seven seconds behind winner and all-Ireland champion Dillion Corkery (Kanturk CC).  Elizabeth Holden also rode strongly, finishing third and fifth in the road races, a superb second in the time trial and fifth in the criterium to put her in fourth place overall and give her the top spot in the girls’ competition, one position ahead of team mate Breeshey Cain, who scored an eighth and ninth in the road races, a fine fourth in the time trial and an eighth in the crit. for sixth overall.

Although she was technically too young to enter the event Eleanor Davies was given special dispensation to ride, fully justifying the organisers’ decision by taking ninth place overall (4th girl) with a ninth and an eighth in the road races, a 12th in the time trial and a tenth in the criterium.

Phoebe Ferguson excelled on the hilly road race stages, winning the climber’s polka dot jersey on the first day and finishing second overall in the King of the Hills competition. A top six finish in the criterium, a seventh in the time trial and top twelve placings in the two road races earned her a very good tenth spot overall ( 5th girl).

In the under 14’s age group Nathan Draper made a great start by taking second place in stage one’s bunch sprint finish. The next day he posted the ninth fastest time in the time trial, losing 32 seconds to eventual overall winner Michael O’Loughlin (Carrick Wheelers), and grabbed third place in the following road race. Another third in the final day’s criterium placed him in seventh place on GC, just 13 seconds short of a podium position. Michael Moss crossed the line in the leading bunch in all the road events, posting ninth and 14th in the road races and a good eighth in the crit. But once again it was the time trial that had the greatest bearing on the overall result and Michael’s mid field placing in the race against the clock restricted him to 16th on GC. He did, however, take third in the under 13’s competition.

Anna Christian was 22nd overall (3rd girl) and Sophie Black 26th (4th girl). Anna was 23rd and a fine eighth in the road races, 17th in the time trial and 23rd in the crit, while Sophie was a consistent 28th in all the stages, except for the second day’s road race when she was 29th.

Competing in a field of nearly ninety riders. Jamie Dudley finished an excellent third overall and top under 15 in the very competitive under 16 category. Despite being credited with 41st in the opening day’s bunch gallop and only recording the 20th fast time in the time trial, Jamie kept in touch with the leaders. In the second road race he finished a superb second gaining at least 1min 22secs back on most of his rivals and moving up to third on GC, a position he successfully defended by finishing safely in the bunch on the final day.

Josh Knights got his campaign off to a flying start with a great third on stage one. A fifth in stage two’s time trial moved him up to second on GC, but a 14th in the second road race dropped him down to ninth overall, where he remained, despite finishing a fine fifth on the final stage. Leon Mazzone rode well to come in with the main bunch on most days, his best results being an impressive tenth in the opening road race and a good 15th in the crit. He eventually finished 22nd (7th under 15) in the overall standings some 2mins 10secs behind the winner Davey Gunst (ZRTC Theo Middlekamp).

Making up for a disappointing tour by his standards (he was 78th on GC), Matthew Davies blew the opposition apart to take an amazing win in the final day’s criterium. Fearless in his overtaking, Matthew shot through the field from around 19th position, weaving his way through the gaps to take the sprint.

Rounding off a very successful three days of hard racing, the Royal London 360 squads won the under 12’s team competition, were second in the under 16’s and third in the under 14’s.

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