Penn ar Bed race report
Jersey Cycling Association Youth Academy junior rider Rhys Pilley (18), participated in the 32nd edition of the Penn Ar Bed Pays d’Iroise, on the 26th March, riding for Club Cyclisme Plancoët. This prestigious federal level race attracts a field of top junior riders from north west of France, including members of the French national squad.
Consisting of two stages, the race started with a short 7.5km time trial on a rolling, exposed course at Plougonvelin, out towards the iconic lighthouse at Pointe St. Mathieu. Pilley produced a respectable time of 10:37, finishing 28th of the 135 riders on the start sheet. This was a positive start but the main challenge of the day was the 115 km road race around the rugged coast of the Finistere region.
Narrow, rolling roads and little protection from the wind resulted in the race splitting into four main groups containing 20-40 riders each. Pilley rode aggressively in the third group, eventually escaping and riding to the finish with one other rider. Although only 39 of the 135 riders were given an official finishing place, the fact that the JCAYA rider made it to the line, which many didn’t, demonstrates his continual development. Pilley came away from the experience with much positivity-“I am pleased with my ride this weekend, the TT went well and I felt strong in the road race. I feel racing at such a high level in France is teaching me a lot about race-craft in such a large bunch and hopefully I can use what I have learnt in future races in the UK and France,” he said. Over the next few weeks, Pilley will re-focus his efforts on the other side of the Channel competing in the two opening rounds of the British National Junior Road Race Series in an attempt to qualify for the Youth Commonwealth Games later this year. Pilley would like to thank Plan2Coaching, Healthhaus, Caesarean Cycling Club, Jersey Cycling Association Youth Academy and Pedal Power for the continual support as well as CC Plancoët for their hospitality.