For many Youth and Junior racers in Europe, the end of July means only one thing, the start of Jeugdtour (European Junior Cycling Tour Assen). A week-long road tour comprising of a mix of events including a time trial, crits, open road race and has seen the likes of Marianne Vos start their international success at. Admiral Liv AWOL rider Connie Hayes has been competing here for as long as she can remember, but sadly this would be her last as she moves up to U23 at the end of the year. Joining her on the trip this year were Emily Bridson and Lauren Higham in the Junior-Dames category (Junior Women) and Charlotte McGreevy in Nieuweling-Meisjes (Novice Girls). With just under 1000 competitors (yes, a thousand competitors) ranging from about 4 to 18 years old, the logistics of running and managing the event need to efficient and professional, and from experience, I can only praise the organisers and the multitude of volunteers that make the week such a pleasurable experience. Well, that is after you’ve managed to go through the registration day hell back in April. For some categories, registration is full within 60 seconds!
European Junior Cycling Tour Assen 2018 (Tour, Holland – 30 July – 4 August)
Monday 30th July, and the first day of Jeugdtour kicked off with a 1.7km prologue through the forest, including a cobbled section and back onto the tarmac to the finish in the main cycling arena.
Efficient running of the event sees riders sent off at 30-second intervals from early morning to mid afternoon. The build-up to the racing is over, you’re on the ramp and a five-fingers appears in front of you, second by second a finger retracts until there are none left and you’re waved on. And then suddenly, for just under 3 minutes, it is just you and the bike, alone on the forest trail (bar the screaming of encouragement at the start and finish line).
It is a simple case of emptying every bit of energy you have, all to gain margins of seconds and put yourself higher of the list before the longer races to come. Every second will matter when it comes to the last day.
Emily, on her first experience of Assen, tweeted at the end of the first day, “Assen Day 1- Prologue. By no means my best ride but really looking forward to the crit tomorrow and cobbles on Friday! Such an amazing experience being here for the first time and hoping to make up some time this week
@JeugdtourAssen @JCAYAJersey thanks to @Scotty_Manley (photo) – at Witterzomer”
At the end of the day, less than 30 seconds separated all but 5 of the 60 riders in the Junior-Dames who started, with Connie Hayes in 27th (2:50:90, 13:04 seconds behind leader), Lauren Higham in 36th (2:54:31, 16.45sbl) and Emily Bridson in 46th (2:58:01, 20.15sbl). In the Nieuweling-Meisjes category, Charlotte McGreevy was sitting mid-table in 33rd (out of 73), with a time of 2:56:76, 15.52 seconds behind the leader.
Day 2 and on to the Criterium Goudkust, a 1.8km circuit lap around one of the suburbs of Assen, including sprint laps, just to keep riders on their toes, and opening up the potential for breakaways. Charlotte McGreevy in the Nieuweling-Meisjes was the first to ride, with 15 laps and 4 sprint laps, finished with the lead group in 20th. In the Junior-Dames, a group of 4 eventually broke away and held it until the end with a 44-second gap. Emily (23rd), Lauren (27th) and Connie (37th) all finished with the main peloton, thus receiving the same time. Great riding from all 4 women, as this is classicly the event that sees riders spat out the back and due to the high pace of the peloton, there is no way back.
An extremely early start for all the women on Wednesday as they were riding the Klassieker together at 8:15am. The Klassieker is a 67.6km road race starting from the village of Gieten Boddeveld, and then under the supervision of an army of police and support vehicles, they ride of rolling closed roads all the way back to the Wielercentrum (the event base). Bearing in mind that there are 12 different road-races going on throughout the day of various lengths and different start points, that all have to finish back at the stadium at different times, it is an amazing sight to see, and chapeau to the organisers once again. With 130+ taking to the women’s start line, it was once again key not to get spat out the back as the ruthless broom wagon follows not far behind.
But the Admiral Liv AWOL riders did themselves proud once more, with all 4 finishing with the same time as the winner. In Junior-Dames, Lauren 22nd, Emily 29th, Connie 31st, and Charlotte in the Nieuweling-Meisjes category in 21st.
Thursday saw the riders back to solo performances on the 13km time-trial in Noordenveld, and inevitably this would be where the time gaps would extend out between the riders. Doing well here can move you up the results ladder significantly. The course is pretty flat with long straights in an almost figure of eight circuit, and while it can suffer from cross winds, at least this year it was dry. In fact very dry! This is Connie’s speciality, and she didn’t disappoint, coming in 18th with a time of 19:54.03, 1:16.95 behind leader. Lauren was 29th in 20:27.80 and Emily 40th in 21:10.48. In the Nieuweling-Meisjes category, Charlotte rode the course in 20:59.63, finishing in a very impressive 13th place, 1:38.94 behind the winner.
Emily Bridson tweeted after the the time trial, “Mixed week so far here in Assen! Pleased enough with criterium Goudkast (#1) and an exciting Klassieker after bridging 3 minute gap back post being held up by a crash, but the TT today has left me keen to shake things up in the cobbled Omloop tomorrow, MTB skills on show.”
The penultimate race is the famous Omloop. A challenging 3 laps of a 12km course with cobbled section that is ridden flat out from the very start, and quite often will see the field break up into smaller groups, that slowly get swept up as they drop further back. Once again, the Admiral Liv AWOL riders all stayed with the main peloton to the very end, and scored the same finishing time as the winner, 54 mins 16s. Final placings were Lauren 36th, Emily 39th and Connie 42nd. For the second day in a row, it was definitely not unlucky 13 for Charlotte McGreevy, who also finished with the same time as the winner of her category, in 55 mins 38s.
The tour ends on the Saturday with a final race, the Criterium Asserbos, around the Wielercentrum on a 3.8km course. Both women’s categories were racing 6 laps, with 3 sprint laps. The course is quite narrow in places, especially through the forest on part of the prologue route, so can get quite strung out. You need to be on your toes to cover any breaks or just to make sure gaps to the front don’t open up. In her final ever race at Jeugdtour, Connie wanted to leave on a high note, and having gained so much experience over the season, she once more delivered finishing with the lead peloton in 34mins 53s in 32nd. Lauren finished at the front of the second group in the race in 35th, just over a minute behind the winners. Emily unfortunately had a nasty crash midway through the race, but got back on to complete the race finishing in 48th. Charlotte McGreevy also finished her race with the winner pack, in 25th place with a time of 36mins 31s.
Final results in, and the GC finishing table for the Junior-Dames saw Akvile Gedraityte (Lithuania National) take the yellow winners jersey with an overall time of 4hrs 34:50. Connie Hayes led the Admiral Liv AWOL women in 17th place, only 2 mins 6s behind the winner. Lauren was in 26th place, with a gap of 3:54, and Emily 36th in 8:30. The last race and crash making a big difference to Emily’s time gap. But overall fantastic racing and results from all 3 juniors. And in the Nieuweling-Meisjes category, Charlotte McGreevy tweeted her thoughts on her final GC placing, “What a fantastic week at Jeugdtour Assen. Big thanks to my team and the organisers for an amazing selection of venues and races. Really happy with 13th GC after all 6 rounds can’t wait for next year!”. Definitely not unlucky 13 for Charlotte!
Team tweeted “End of an era really. Was ‘laste ronde’ for
@connie_hayes123 in her 6th @JeugdtourAssen” And she did herself very proud too, we think! Congratulations Connie. Tweet continued “Been a great week for the guys. Just don’t get stage racing experience like this anywhere else. Final results for Junior-Dames. If it hadn’t been for last stage crash team would have had all the guys in top 30. And 13th for our @Lotte_mcgreevy as a first year U17. Great effort by everyone”. And finally “Huge thank you to everyone involved in organising @JeugdtourAssen especially all the volunteers who give up there holidays to make it possible . Great cycling event and one that brings young people from across the world together . Thank you. @TourDeJose”
Meanwhile, back in Blighty the rest of the team were at various other races.
Videre Race Team Series #2 (Circuit, Bury St Edmunds – Wednesday, 1 Aug 2018)
Second round of the series, and second win for our Clover Murray!
RTTC National 25 Mile Championship (4 Aug 2018)
Savannah Hewson and Elizabeth Marvelly were the team’s representatives at the National Championships for the 25 miles, which was using Course P881R/25, along the A3 between Haslemere and Petersfield.
In the Junior Women’s category, Elizabeth was up against 4 other riders, and with a time of 56mins 52s, and at an average speed of a whopping 26.377 miles per hour, took the National Champions title! Savannah Hewson finished in 1hour 2mins 10s at an average speed of 24.129 mph, just off the podium.
Elizabeth Marvelly tweeted “So happy to have taken the win at the British National 25 mile TT Championships today!! Thanks
@a3crg @Cycling_T_T for the great event and @nopinz for providing the stripy jersey!”
Wolves Cycling Academy, where Elizabeth is a student, also tweeted “We’re so immensely proud of
@egmarvelly today taking our Academy’s first National Title in the @Cycling_T_T #national25 Very hard work has gone into that and there’s still so much more to come. Winner by around a minute as well.” And from cycling coach and photographer Huw Williams (thanks for taking the photo at the top of this blog post) who tweeted “Fastest junior woman @egmarvelly @AdmiralLivAWOL #national25“!
And along with this photograph, a tweet from the team “Nice problem of having to explain to our wonderful kit manufacturer
@FORTEsportswear that we need a national champions skin suit with the logos on @PerkinsGarages @LivCyclingUK @AdmiralUK”
Berkhamsted Cycling Club Road Race (Road, Cheddington – Sunday, 5 Aug 2018)
Hannah Graveney was the sole Admiral Liv AWOL rider in a large field of over 40 Cat 234 riders, which raced for 70km on open roads near Cheddington. Unfortunately for Hannah, it was a DNF.
Green Arrow CRT Grass Track Meeting (Hertford – Sunday, 5 Aug 2018)
Harley Pell (Youth A Girls) was racing in the grass track omnium, and taking the win over 2 other competitors.
Brugge-Dudzele Road Race (Belgium – Tuesday, 7 Aug 2018)
Charlotte Broughton and Clover Murray had a little excursion to Belgium mid week, to race in this Elite, Cat 12 woman’s race. From a huge field of 80+ starters, Charlotte finished as highest placed Brit (out of 7 attending) in an excellent 11th place. Clover finished in 76th.
Dulwich Paragon CC Crits #14 (Crystal Palace – Tuesday, 7 Aug 2018)
Dulwich Paragon run this series on Tuesday evenings throughout the summer, which sees Hannah Graveney regularly race on the E12 Women’s category. From 11 starters this evening, Hannah finished in 10th.
Rapha Cycling Club Road Race (Saffron Walden – Sunday, 12 Aug 2018)
Hannah Graveney and Clover Murray competed in this gruelling 97km (plus 5km neutralised) E1234 Women’s road race.
Out of 31 riders racing, both women were amongst the finishers, with Clover Murray in 17th and Hannah 22nd.
Mud, Sweat and Gears XC Series #7 (Chelmsford – Sunday, 12 Aug 2018)
Harley Pell was racing with 4 others taking 2nd place in this round of the mountain bike series.
The Newport Nocturne (Closed Town Circuit, Newport – Saturday, 18 Aug 2018)
The UK’s original floodlit cycle race returned to the market town streets of Newport for the Nocturne which was established back in 1989 and has featured in the men’s races the likes of Mark Cavendish, Sean Kelly, David Millar, Geraint Thomas and Ed Clancy!
The event pulled in a crowd of over 10 thousand, and with its theatrical night time setting and bands playing trackside while the racing went by, it was a big hit with the locals. The organisers kept the magic of the race with special events and prizes, including winners getting their weight in beer measured on a giant balance scale, both for the men and women.
The women’s race also gave the unique opportunity for some Youth A riders to compete against riders ranging all the way to Elite category, and Admiral Liv AWOL fielded a team of 3 (senior, junior and youth A), with Hannah Bayes, Connie Hayes and Charlotte McGreevy.
The pace of the race was kept high, being dominated and controlled by the elite riders from NJC-Biemme-Echelon, and although they took all three podium places, Hannah satyed with the lead group finishing in 8th, while Connie not too far behind was in 25th. Charlotte, who’d been poorly all week, pulled out of the race earlier on.
South East, Central & Eastern Senior & Junior Women’s Regional Road Race Championships (Edenbridge – Sunday, 19 Aug 2018)
The Weald of Kent Road Race hosted several regional championships races as one and saw a strong field of Admiral Liv AWOL team riders turn out, including Clover Murray, Hannah Graveney, Lauren Higham, Elizabeth Marvelly and Issy Torrie.
The race saw several riders try to attack, including one from Elizabeth Marvelly, and one rider got away in the end for the win.
A bunch sprint at the end was hotly contested with so many different titles up for grabs. Hannah Graveney won the South East Junior title, finishing 1st Junior overall. Elizabeth Marvelly won the Eastern Junior title (in 3rd place overall) and was closely followed by Lauren Higham, taking 2nd place in Eastern Junior category and 4th overall junior.
In the Senior Women’s category, with a field size of 45, Clover Murray finished in 29th and Isabella Torrie in 36th.
Pat Hayes (DS) tweeted afterward, “It’s the great thing about our team that there is always a different rider who steps up and puts in a top performance today was Hannah Graveney, first Junior in combined South East, Eastern & Central Regional Championship.”
Elizabeth Marvelly (Eastern Junior title winner) commented, “Didn’t manage to make a break work but still happy with 1st Eastern junior girl at regional champs. Thanks to the volunteers for putting on a really well managed & marshaled event!! Well done to my teammates for great results too ”
Screentek North West Youth and Junior Tour (Morecambe – 25-27 Aug 2018)
This is an annual three day event running over the August Bank Holiday weekend, at three different locations in the North West of England, which is part of both the National Youth Circuit Series and the Junior Women’s National Series.
Admiral Liv AWOL had 7 riders racing, split across the Junior and Youth A categories.
On the Saturday, the racing kicks off with a 1km time trial /prologue along the Morecambe promenade. Beautiful sunshine shone throughout the day, although the wind did blow in from across the bay, and it was key to take advantage of this if you could.
The team had some great performances in both categories. Out of the 44 starters in the Junior Women, Elizabeth Marvelly came in 6th (in 3:33.586, just over 11 seconds behind the winner), Connie Hayes 9th (in 3:35.209), Lauren Higham 12th (in 3:37.842), Hannah Graveney 27th (in 3:43.905) and Emily Bridson 36th (in 3:46.556).
Elizabeth Marvelly tweeted “Pleased with 6th in the prologue at NWJT, now looking forward to the bumpy stage tomorrow.”
In Youth A, out of 54 starters, Charlotte McGreevy had a good start in 16th (in 3:44.559, 13 seconds behind the winner) and Harley Pell 25th (in 3:51.607). Sadly in a post race incident with another cyclist, Charlotte McGreevy was injured and had to withdraw from the rest of the event.
Unfortunately the weather turned for the second day, and where we had basked in glorious sunshine for most of the summer, the rains opened up and there was a chill blast in the air. This day saw the tour move in from the coast to the country lanes beyond Lancaster, for a closed circuit road race, that involved a long 1.5km climb and fast descent into a 90 degree turn, several times over.
Lauren Higham put in a determined effort sticking with the lead group throughout the race coming in 15th at the sprint finish only 21 seconds off the winner on the day.
Elizabeth Marvelly was one of two riders next across the line a couple of minutes behind the leaders, taking 18th place. Hannah Graveney and Connie Hayes finished together in 29th and 20th place respectively and Emily Bridson not far behind in 34th. The Youth A race splintered even more than the Junior Women, and Harley Pell, now the only Admiral Liv AWOL rider in the category came through in 29th place.
Tweets from the riders included one from Emily Bridson “Pretty gutted to say the least to come back from today’s stage and find this (repeating spokes problem) yet again now out of GC contention by a mile, but it just leaves me with nothing to lose tomorrow”, and from Elizabeth Marvelly, “Really disappointing to get caught on the wrong side of the lead group split late in the race today and lose so much time on GC. Learned some lessons and hoping for a better day tomorrow. Onwards & upwards”
The final day moved an hour further south to another closed road circuit near Kirkham. The roads this time were mainly single lane, and at times pretty rough, so opportunities to break away had to be carefully taken.
Emily Bridson finally found her form, and determination, spearheading the team’s effort at the front of the group, finishing with the lead group (same time as winner), in 20th place. Also in the lead group was Elizabeth Marvelly in 22nd, and a few seconds behind Connie Hayes in 30th and Lauren Higham 32nd. Hannah Graveney unfortunately split from the pack finishing a couple of minutes behind in 36th.
Final GC placings were Lauren Higham 13th, Elizabeth Marvelly 16th, Connie Hayes 25th, Emily Bridson 29th and Hannah Graveney 31st.
In the Youth A category, Harley Pell got caught in a split, finishing just over a minute behind the peloton, in 24th place, giving her a final GC position of 26th out of 50.
Emily Bridson tweeted, “Hanging my road bike up for at least a little while after
@NorthWestYJT this weekend. It’s been a year of learning (and mostly shredding). Big thanks have to go to @AdmiralLivAWOL for all of the opportunities I’ve had this year and I’m keen to make some changes for the next one”.
Elizabeth Marvelly “NWJT over and I can be proud seeing how far I’ve come since last year. 6th in stage 1 prologue & 17th overall GC. After not feeling too well I was nervous, but I enjoyed racing & learnt loads. Excited to make next year even better Thanks
@AdmiralLivAWOL for the support!”
And positivity from Charlotte McGreevy tweeting “Thank you
@NorthWestYJT for a great event and helping with the incident. Shame I didn’t get to race, but the car ride was great hope to be back on my bike this year”.
The Ryedale Women’s Road Grand Prix (North Yorkshire – Sunday, 26 Aug 2018)
Part of the HSBC UK National Women’s Road Series, the Ryedale Women’s Grand Prix returned to the rolling countryside of Ryedale and Hambleton, with the magnificent Ampleforth Abbey forming the backdrop for this tough event. Not quite so rolling, as pretty darn hilly!
Clover Murray and Hannah Bayes raced but unfortunately both were DNFs.
Summer Points Series Crits #3 (Circuit, Ilford – Monday, 27 Aug 2018)
This was the third and final in a series of 3 crit races using the full circuit of Redbridge Cycling Centre for E123 Women. The races are run on a points basis with an overall points prize at the end of the 3 races. Of the 12 starters, Issy Torrie was sole Admiral Liv AWOl representative, finishing in 9th place.
And so August came to an end, but there was still plenty of racing for the team in September. More updates coming soon.
Featured photo is Elizabeth Marvelly on her way to becoming Junior National 25 mile TT Champion. (photo by Huw Williams)