Look Back: UK Youth’s Tour of Britain


Top team on stage 4 and highest placed British UCI Conti team, the Tour of Britain was a good one for UK Youth finished off with a 5th place in London

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Solid start to the Tour of Britain for Team UK Youth

After eight days of the Tour of Britain, Team UK Youth survived crashes, the worst weather in the history of the race and a route that is tougher than it has ever been. Then, on stage 4, they topped all that by winning the best team award for the stage!


Win for Mark Cavendish as expected but lurking there a few lengths adrift is British based Chris Opie for UK Youth

The race began badly for Chris Opie who crashed heavily on stage one but bounced back to be in the thick of the action on stage four. Despite trying to get in a move, it wasn’t to be for Chris but Ian Wilkinson did the team proud by getting himself into the days big break on the same stage and survived a very hilly stage with the leaders until caught near the end of the stage.

Stage 3 saw an awesome ride by Marcin Bialoblocki  when he was 12th in the time trial, only 1.29 down on Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins. Marcin said afterwards he was disappointed with the ride as things went wrong and he could have gone faster which shows the level that Team UK Youth are riding at these days.

The icing on the cake however was the team surpassing all that by winning the team award on stage 4 ahead of the best pro cycling teams in the world! Speaking about the team’s performance from the event, Nigel Mansell CBE said of the race “It is the most challenging Tour event I have ever witnessed. Every team and every rider should be congratulated just to still be here in the event. I must take my hat off to the organisers and all the volunteers and officials because it has been arduous.”

“Hopefully it will get better as the week goes on and it’s going to be very exciting. It was great to see the time trials and Sir Bradley Wiggins definitely demonstrated why he’s an expert in that discipline and I am thrilled we still have all six riders left in the race.”

“We have had two hypothermic days so for Jon Mould to get in to the finish within the time limit (stage 2) and then do the job was great. It is wonderful to be part of something like this when you have ambitions of stepping it up and seeing what to step it up to.”


Thumbs up from Marcin Bialoblocki after stage 8 in London. 

“We know what hard work we have got to do”.

“We’re really waiting for a title sponsor to come along who buys into the ethos of what UK Youth is all about, what cycling is all about, and can see we have actually done a pretty good job this year.”

One of the team’s most experienced riders, Yanto Barker, said at the time four days into the race, “We’re all versatile riders and that was one of the pre-requisites of being in the team; riders who could adapt and ride more than one kind of race. We have a job to do to get in the breaks and for those left in the peloton, their jobs will be a combination of looking after Marcin and doing leadouts.”

“There is a fairly straight forward formula to this type of racing which only varies depending on how many people each morning are keen to get in the break. From now on” says Yanto, “we have ridden all the important bits of the stages which will be a help because there are some quite serious sections coming up.”


Yanto Barker well wrapped up during a wet Tour of Britain in his own Le Col clothing. “Overall we are pleased. We rode with professionalism and dignity on every stage and gained the respect of all the World Tour teams” he said of the teams performance.

Team continue to challenge for a stage win on final four days of Tour
The Team UK Youth cycling team showed on TV in London that they have the riders to compete with the very best in the World with an outstanding performance on the final stage of the Tour of Britain. Up against the likes of Mark Cavendish, Alessandro Petacchi and Elia Viviani in the finale, the boys in the colours of Team UK Youth were up there, elbow to elbow, shoulder to shoulder, working flat out for their rider Chris Opie who was fifth, a length or two from the fastest men in the world.

It was the culmination of a great week for the team where Ian Wilkinson made it into the days break on two stages and Chris Opie had three top 10 placings from eight stages. Marcin Bialoblocki was the team’s highest placed rider overall in 18th after the toughest Tour of Britain by far since it began in 2004. The UK Youth team was also 7th on the Team General Classification, the first of the British based teams and the highest placed ‘Continental’ team behind WorldTour and ProConti teams.

Team captain on the road and a team sponsor with his own brand, Le Col, Yanto Barker said of the team’s performance, “Overall we are pleased. We rode with professionalism and dignity on every stage and gained the respect of all the World Tour teams.”

“They acknowledged the way we did things properly by not getting in people’s way or riding dangerously on the run in when everything is so fast and close. We were given respect and this is of huge importance in the pro peloton.”

“Not only this, we came away with some significant results. Best British based team on GC, a team win on stage 4 which just shows our strength in depth as Marcin joined Chris and Wilkes in the bunch sprint.”

All year, the riders have spoken about the great ethos for the team coming from the team boss Nigel Mansell down through the staff and encompassing the riders. This was a very important asset of the team in the country’s biggest cycle race. “We looked out for each other” says Yanto “and have one of the closest group of guys (riders and management) I’ve ever experienced in a team”.


Ian Wilkinson of UK Youth leads the break through yet another town packed with spectators to watch the race.

“This I believe came through in the coverage of the race. We were there to represent the Mansell name and the UK Youth Charity and that meant being approachable and friendly at all stage starts and finishes which we all take pleasure in doing, signing autographs and having our pictures taken. It’s all part of the job as I believe we have built the best image and PR for a UK based team in the history of the sport. A bold claim but it’s not an accident and means a lot to Nigel who is a prominent figure at the highest level.”

Looking back over the final four days, encompassing the stages the team had looked at closely pre-race during a training camp, Yanto explained that on each of the final four days, all the riders had a purpose and job to do.

“After Wilks (Ian Wilkinson) had done a great job on stage 4 getting in a break and representing us there, the Caerphilly stage (5) was different and more about the overall classification where Marcin was the best placed of the team after his ride in the stage 3 Time trial.”

“Marcin was our protected man and we wanted to make sure he was in the best position at the foot of the Caerphilly mountain first time up it. We all worked hard to be in the top 20 and I was able to make the second group with Marcin and help him limit his losses to a minute on the front group.”

The Devon stage (6) was again another hard day for all the riders as the GC favourites made the race tough in the finale. Team UK Youth’s aim was to get Marcin into a good position for the start of the Haytor climb. “We did this again” says Yanto, “and got Wilks into the break as well to make sure we were represented at the front of the race”.

The team’s aim changed for the final two stages where the races were expected to be decided in bunch kicks and for them , their ‘weapon’ was Chris Opie. “Stage 7 was all about helping Chris get over the climbs without burning too many matches” says Yanto, adding “and then seeing what we could do on the lead out.”

“We were all at the front coming into the finish at Guildford which was hectic and messy. Because of that, we could not connect ‘the train’ up to provide Chris with a full team lead out to contest the finish with Omega Pharma Quickstep (the team of Cavendish).”

“With 1.5 kilometres to go (one mile), I was able to help move Chris up into the top seven and that was where he finished on the stage, the best stage result for us in the race so far.”

The final stage for the team was in London and the closest type of stage to much of the racing they have been doing in 2013. The winners of the 2013 Tour Series had shown they have the speed for these flat races but for this one, you have the Worlds best in the mix. Team UK Youth however were ready to meet that challenge head on.

“Stage 8 in London was a real buzz” says Yanto. “We had a clear objective knowing it was likely to be a bunch sprint again and with Chris getting his eye in and proving he can finish the teams hard work off with a result, we made our intentions clear from early on by riding on the front much of the stage.”


The team spent a lot of time at the front of the peloton, chasing the break and then setting up their sprinter Chris Opie up for the dash to the line.

“We adapted our approach from stage 7. Rather than adding our lead out to the main lead out within the last few K’s, with 3km to go, Wilks and I were on the front and just gave it everything to keep the pace high and Mouldy, Marcin and Chris were close together holding their place at the front to get a good position into the last corner.”

“We are all so pleased and proud of Chris getting a massive result on an awesome stage and showing what we have known he has been able to do for years. I personally have seen his potential ever since the first year in Pendragon 2010 and stage 8 was showing that on a world stage.”

Chris too was really pleased saying “It was just a fantastic experience, especially all six of us on the front together. It finished off a great season too with a fabulous group.”

The fifth place for Chris Opie on that final stage was a fitting reward for a team that was punching above its weight in a star studded field of the worlds best and we can only hope the team come back stronger in 2014 and continue to show themselves at the top of the sport.

Team Results

Stage 8
1 CAVENDISH Mark Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 01:47:23

5 OPIE Christopher Team UK Youth @ st
11 BIALOBLOCKI Marcin Team UK Youth @ st
53 MOULD Jon Team UK Youth @ st
54 PARTRIDGE Rob Team UK Youth @ st
60 BARKER Yanto Team UK Youth @ st
82 WILKINSON Ian Team UK Youth 00:57

1 WIGGINS Bradley Sky Procycling 29:45:22

18 BIALOBLOCKI Marcin Team UK Youth 03:34
33 PARTRIDGE Rob Team UK Youth 11:27
38 BARKER Yanto Team UK Youth 13:46
57 WILKINSON Ian Team UK Youth 21:35
79 OPIE Christopher Team UK Youth 31:33
91 MOULD Jon Team UK Youth 42:17


1 Angel Madrazo Ruiz Movistar 35
5 Ian Wilkinson Team UK Youth 13

1 Sky Procycling 89h 18′ 53”
7 Team UK Youth 89h 35′ 36” 16′ 43”

Stage 7
1 CAVENDISH Mark Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 03:46:57
7 OPIE Christopher Team UK Youth @ st

11 BIALOBLOCKI Marcin Team UK Youth @ st
53 PARTRIDGE Rob Team UK Youth @ st
65 MOULD Jon Team UK Youth @ st
68 WILKINSON Ian Team UK Youth @ st
69 BARKER Yanto Team UK Youth @ st

Stage 6
1 YATES Simon Great Britain 03:23:43

24 BIALOBLOCKI Marcin Team UK Youth 01:16
31 MOULD Jon Team UK Youth @ same time
44 PARTRIDGE Rob Team UK Youth 04:58
57 BARKER Yanto Team UK Youth @ same time
63 OPIE Christopher Team UK Youth @ same time
73 WILKINSON Ian Team UK Youth @ same time

Stage 5
1 BENNETT Sam An Post – Chainreaction 04:35:29

23 BIALOBLOCKI Marcin Team UK Youth @ st
31 BARKER Yanto Team UK Youth @ st
35 MOULD Jon Team UK Youth 01:19
46 PARTRIDGE Rob Team UK Youth @ st
51 OPIE Christopher Team UK Youth @ st
62 WILKINSON Ian Team UK Youth @ st
Stage 4
9. Chris Opie
11. Marcin Bialoblocki
12. Ian Wilkinson
32. Yanto Barker
44. Jon Mould
54. Rob Partridge
First team

Stage 3
12. Marcin Bialoblocki
61. Jon Mould
70. Ian Wilkinson
75. Chris Opie
81. Rob Partridge
94. Yanto Barker

Stage 2
23. Marcin Bialoblocki
46. Rob Partridge
51. Yanto Barker
69. Ian Wilkinson
86. Chris Opie
104. Jon Mould

Stage 1
15. Ian Wilkinson
19. Yanto Barker
29. Rob Partridge
49. Jon Mould
58. Marcin Bialoblocki
110. Chris Opie


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