Young cyclists represent Channel Islands in Prudential Ride London Grand Prix
An intrepid group of nine talented cyclists from Jersey and Guernsey took part in Prudential Ride London Grand Prix on Saturday, as the Channel Island Youth Team. Sponsored by global fund services provider Moore Management, the team was made up of riders from the Jersey Cycling Association Youth Academy (JCAYA) and Guernsey Velo.
The races were held in front of the majestic Buckingham Palace on a dry, bright and sunny evening. This was the Youth event’s second year running as a competition between regions across Great Britain. The Channel Islanders were up against national-standard 13 to 16 year olds from 14 different regions, in both male and female race categories.Arriving in the afternoon, the young cyclists walked the course, studied the race lines, inspected potential obstacles and considered the impact on the race of the prevailing North Westerly wind.
The team of four girls were first to race and found a strong starting place, making it to the second row amongst a colourful array of 55 others. Hannah Brehaut, the smallest and youngest in the team, commented: “It was exciting racing straight after the elite women. The big crowds, TV coverage and fast pace were quite intimidating”.Best placed of the four, being 2nd in the under-14 age group and 14th position overall, Emily Bridson said it was fantastic riding in such a big field and that she gained confidence as the race progressed. The whole team stayed with the bunch with only Katie falling behind after being involved in a crash on the penultimate lap.
The team of five boys were next to race. The pace was fierce; Rhys Pilley stated it was faster than Division 1 in Jersey with speeds of up to 30mph along the back straight before the sharp turn into Horse Guards Parade. With attacks ongoing, the boys worked hard to cover the breaks and to try to stay in the top third of the bunch. At this level, with some riders part of the British Cycling Olympic Development Programme, riding is aggressive and physical with lots of contact in the fight for the right position within the tightly packed peleton. Alex van Katwyk was best placed of the five, finishing strongly in 23rd position, only two seconds behind the winner.Three of the boys were caught up in a crash on the final corner of the final lap, which impacted their finish. Fortunately there were no injuries although Luc Mon Petit Le Brun, the youngest member of the team, suffered a couple of broken spokes and did well to make it to the line.
Thanks go to the Moore Management, JCAYA and Guernsey Velo for their support and assistance in enabling the team to gain such amazing experience at this prestigious event.