Better late than never I guess...
On the 4th, 5th and 6th of May we travelled over to the Isle of Man for the my first Junior tour. I felt good and had been resting a bit in the days leading up to it so was hopping for good form in the races. The days consisted of a prologue along the sea front around 1.5km then a 105km stage on the Saturday in Jurby followed by the final stage in Castle Town at only 95km.
I started the weekend well with 5th place in the Prologue only 1 second behind the leader, I was satisfied with my legs and was ready for a hard stage on the Saturday. The stage on Saturday was at 8:45 meaning we had to wake up at 6:30am, this was fine but after an early start the day before for travel it didn't feel great.
The race started fast, with riders going up the road and coming back pretty quickly. I kept near to the front and out of trouble, making sure none of the fast guys got up the road without me trying to tag along. I got in a break that lasted 30kms and with 13 riders, I thought it could make it to the finish as most big teams were represented but with peoples individual GC hopes meant it was brought back with 40km to go.
5 guys got up the road after this building a massive gap as the bunch slowed right down and the prospect of bridging it was out of the question. I managed to get away on the last lap with Matt Shaw. I immediately told him that he could take the sprint if we made it. To be honest I don't know if this was a good idea but it made sure that we both worked really hard to the line taking as much time on the bunch as we could and I couldn't come around him any way so I guess it wouldn't have made a difference. Matt rolled in 6th and me 7th with the bunch 12 seconds behind. This 12 seconds was important as being 1 second behind the leader Will Tidball before the stage meant that I had a 11 lead on the bunch by the end of stage 2. This meant that if it was a bunch sprint the next day no matter who won I would retain my GC position (7th)
Of course this is not how it panned out but, oh well. The last stage was just one of those days. I felt good following attacks for the fist hour trying to find opportunities to get away and then recovering. By 2 laps to go there were 4 guys up the road. My choices were to either work hard on the front to bring back the break as much as I could, or try and chip off the front again and get another top 10 or even top 5 (if lucky). I decided that I would be better off no chasing it down and leaving that to others that also looked committed to bringing it back and waiting to do something at the end. Coming around to 1 lap to go I got a rear puncture, I managed to get it changed quickly and get towed back to the bunch but the effort was quite hard and being dropped off at the back of a bunch with half a lap to go with a lot of positioning to do was also quite difficult. I got myself to the front but with not enough gas to go off the front so I thought I would give the bunch kick a go... It didn't go too well in the end and I rolled in 21st.
On GC I had dropped to 11th as the 4 guys up the road had more time than I had gained on stage 2. But I was happy with the weekend and how I performed and very excited for the weeks ahead.