Blog: James Lowsley-Williams – UK Youth to NFTO


New signing for NFTO James Lowsley-Williams looks back at three years of Team UK Youth which came to an end in 2013

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James writes … Wow! It really has been an amazing year riding with Team UK Youth Pro Cycling. We’ve had some great times and some amazing results. We started the year aiming for the top and went on to win many of the top races in the UK as well as key races abroad.

And I can tell you, having been there, that we did it in style, with Yanto Barker leading the team as captain and leading the country as top rider. As the saying goes, cycling is totally a team sport and we couldn’t have done it without the dedication and backup of some great guys, including Ben Jenkins our soigneur, Sam Hayes our mechanic, Steve Benton the Team Coach (who is outstanding at what he does), Directeur Sportif David Povall and of course team owner, sponsor and mentor Nigel Mansell.

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James on the wheel of Tom Scully (Raleigh) in the circuit race at Beverley (East Yorkshire)

Our only aim was to win. We worked well as a team and our collective mind was aimed solely at the podium. The result of being top UK team for 2013 says it all. Teamwork and will power along with determination and grit to push to our physical limits made Team UK Youth Pro Cycling a force to reckon with.

I’ve been with the team for three years now progressing up through the steep ranks, having the privilege to ride along side some of cycling’s greats. I progressed with the help and friendship of others as well as giving my own complete dedication to the profession. Every year has been exciting and challenging. I think I’ve learned a lot in three years. I grew along with the team, going from an amateur team to a UCI team and then on to be ranked the top UCI team in the country.

Nigel Mansell was the driving spirit behind that success and I can say that every team member gave 110% all along the way.

2013 has been the best year for me in cycling. Our Team Coach, Steve Benton, was the reason for my personal gains. I had worked with Steve the previous year, so he had a good understanding of my potential and together we sat down at the start of 2013 to map out my goals for the year. This meant giving my all to the role of team domestique. We had a strong line up, big results were expected, and this gave me a focus for supporting my teammates to make the podium.

The highlight of the year for me was the RAS (The Tour of Ireland). I rode it in 2012 and loved every minute of it, so I was keen to ride it again in 2013. We went to Ireland with a strong squad headed up by Marcin Biablocki with Rob Partridge. The team made history by dominating each of the last five stages to win what was a very competitive, hard fought race. It was a great experience for me, riding for a teammate who took the yellow jersey.

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Racing up the Glaswegian Berg in the British Champs where he was 4th in the U23 category. 

I learned a great deal at the RAS and it left a strong impression on me. It’s a great feeling when your team takes the lead in a top stage race, but this was contrasted by the tension of leading other teams who were not far behind in terms of time buffers. Tactics play a big role when this happens and as the RAS allows only five rider squads, each rider has to give it their all. I loved every minute of it.

Back in the UK, Team UK Youth Pro Cycling assembled a strong squad for the Pearl Izumi Tour Series, which the team again dominated with the likes of Tobyn Horton, Jon Mould, Ian Wilkinson, Greg Mansell and Niklas Gustavsson with Yanto Barker and Chris Opie taking two individual wins.

After the RAS, my aim was to compete at the Nationals at Glasgow on the Commonwealth Games course. The course suited me and after an in-depth conversation with Team Coach Steve Benton, I was confident going into the race. I was aiming for the under 23 National Championship jersey. I attacked from the start of the race as it’s common knowledge that the race is often blown apart in the early stages by World Tour stars such as Mark Cavendish, Russ Downing, David Millar, Adam Blythe and many more.

In the end I finished in 4th place (under 23) just missing a place on the podium for the under 23 and 21st overall. Nonetheless, I was happy with the result and came away from the experience a lot wiser regarding race tactics. But next year, I want that under 23 national title!

All in all, it was a great year, a great team and loads of fun (and hard work). The RAS and the Nationals are my personal highlights. It’s been an amazing experience riding with Team UK Youth Pro Cycling for three years. I am grateful to all my teammates and want to take the opportunity to thank everyone involved, Nigel Mansell, Steve Benton, David Povall and Yanto Barker who have all played a massive role in my cycling progression.

I am looking forward to 2014 and another important chapter in the development of my career in professional cycling and seeing all my friends once again at the starting line.

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James on the wheel of Adam Yates in Glasow in 2013.


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