TalentSpotting: Tom Stewart (Sportscover/Bioracer)


The Tour of Reservoir saw some new ‘names’ comes to the fore and one them was the fourth placed rider, Tom Stewart.

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Tom was the first rider from a non-UCI team in the race and was so close to making it on the podium on stage 1 when he lost by millimetres to Niklas Gustavsson (UK Youth). He was in the action again on stage 2 and in the sprint for the podium, crossed the line fifth just behind another rider to make his name in the race, George Harper (Felt-Colbournes-Hargroves Cycles).


Stage 1 and Tom in white and yellow is in the move at the front of the race

The Reservoir was so hard there were no lucky results and for Tom, it was confirmation he has moved up a level from last season. He first showed he can ride with the best when winning the Maureen Baine Memorial, also in the North East, a few weeks ago.

Then, in the Reservoir, to see him battling side by side with the race leader Chris Opie (UK Youth) showed that Tom has some good form in this legs. A British legend domestically and now racing abroad, Russell Downing, told VeloUK he’s known for a few years that Tom was a very good rider. Last year Tom rode for RST Clothing/Trigon Bikes funded by the Cycle Division of MotoDirect and when that team was unable to find other external sponsors to fund a senior team (they have an excellent youth/junior team), Tom was signed up by Sportscover/Bioracer.

Tom is in his final year of a masters degree in civil and structural engineering at Sheffield University and is well known on the South Yorkshire chaingang where the likes of Russell and Dean Downing and others hone their form.

He says on his team’s website “It feels really good to be riding at this level because I’m still full time at University. I didn’t expect to be able to stay in that leading group for so long. Now that I’ve done that, I’ve set the bar really high in my own head and want to continue improving this weekend.”


So close! Stage 1 and Tom just fails to beat Niklas Gustavsson (UK Youth) to the line for his first Premier Calendar podium. Race reports here

Tom rides a fairly local two day stage race over the May Bank Holiday weekend where Tom stands a good chance of winning in a race devoid of Elite riders. He will face other in form riders though who have yet to earn their Elite licence such as Declan Byrne (MG Maxifuel) who was another rider who rose to the top when the going got tough in the North East last weekend.

Lower category races like that though are never a push over and even if he doesn’t win, he will have a chance to continue to show his form against the best in the Lincoln Grand Prix. It’s a race where South Yorkshire riders such as Malcolm Elliott, Dean Downing and his brother Russell have done so well and there is always a lot of support.

Tom though has even higher ambitions and why not after his results so far this year. “My ambition is to take any opportunities I can to live and race in Europe,” added Stewart. “I’ve spent all winter training with them (Downings, Ben Swift etc) and as a result I felt really good in the break (stage 1).

“The climbing was fine (stage 1). I didn’t have any problems on it at all. It was the crosswinds over the top that caused me problems in that break. Every lap the strong riders like Simon Yates (GB Academy) and Andy Tennant were doing serious damage in those crosswinds.”

“After the win in the Maureen Baine, I knew I was doing something right but it is always good to confirm to yourself that the form is there.” Tom’s ride on the first stage at Reservoir when there was a five mile climb on each of the five laps and other climbing to be done as well, saw him show he can hold his own with the best in Britain.


“Last week the break went in the crosswinds in the Drummond Trophy (Scotland) and it split on the last lap and I didn’t do very well out of that. So I was determined to be aware of the crosswinds on stage 1 and could see it was windy coming over the top of the climb. It’s not complicated really. You just have to keep the pressure on at the front and it will split.”

Keep the pressure on he did, forcing it at the front and not leaving it to the big teams to do all the work. “It was so silky smooth going through if you pick a good wheel, a few seconds on the front is a good sacrifice for keeping it smooth. I went to the back a few times and gaps would appear and I was having to jump across them so it wasn’t worth it. You’re better off staying at the front and tickling through and keeping it smooth”.

“On the climb as well, I like to be on the front just in case an attack does go, you’re not in the worst place. It was a tailwind on the climb as well so there was nothing to lose being on the front.”

Two stages and a fourth and a fifth is a good result for someone with no pressure on him to get a result like there is in a bigger team. On stage 1, he came closest to his first Premier Calendar podium just being pipped by Niklas Gustavsson of UK Youth.

Talking about the sprint there, Tom explained “at the end of a race like that you’re going flat out and I started going as hard as I could up the climb and guys started coming past me but as I got closer to the finish, I was going back past them! Another six inches and I’d have got that podium place but that’s bike racing. I can’t complain though what with all the big teams being here…”

As a rider who can climb well, with the best in Britain if Reservoir is anything to go by, his chances in the Lincoln Grand Prix may well be very good so look out for the rider in yellow wearing number 131. He’s representing the hopes of the South Yorkshire chaingang and his team Sportscover/Bioracer… Good luck to Tom this weekend as well in the East Midlands…


Fighting talk… Tom and Chris Opie fighting to get back to the front in the closing stages of stage 2.


Tom gets the better of noted fast man Matt Cronshaw (IG Sigma Sport) in the Maureen Baine Memorial.

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