Great Britain’s juniors endured a day of misfortune at Junior Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, with Matt Bostock taking the team’s best position in 29th behind Danish winner Magnus Bak Klaris.
The team’s lead riders Gabriel Cullaigh and James Shaw both suffered with punctures and crashes during the 110.8km event, run over the final 16 cobbled sectors used in the professional race, ensuring that there was no Brit left to fight it out in the lead group on the road.
“We were just unlucky today,” said junior coach and Olympic Development Programme [ODP] manager Matt Winston.
“Joe Evans punctured on the second sector of cobbles, got a wheel change, punctured again. James Shaw had three punctures and a crash. Gabz [Cullaigh] punctured on Carrefour de l’Arbre and we were stuck behind a crash and it took us three or four minutes to get to him.”
Great Britain has a strong track record in the race which is the opening round of the Junior Nations Cup. Past winners include Geraint Thomas and Andy Fenn, while Jon Dibben and Tao Geoghegan Hart both took third place in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
Despite the disappointing result, Winston believes the race still provided a good learning experience for his young riders.
“I think they’ll take loads from today, how to deal with a puncture situation,” he said. “In a normal race they’d just get back in the convoy but this is completely different.
“It’s the experience that sometimes you have bad days on the bike, your legs might be good and you might be in a good position but other factors might influence the results.”
Great Britain’s ODP now head to a week long track training camp in Newport before the junior men race in the next Nations Cup rounds: the Tour of Istria in Croatia (April 25-27) and the Junior Peace Race in the Czech Republic (May 8-11).
Geraint Thomas and Bradley Wiggins comment on their seventh and ninth places in 2014 Paris-Roubaix
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Richard Abraham is an award-winning writer, based in New Zealand. He has reported from major sporting events including the Tour de France and Olympic Games, and is also a part-time travel guide who has delivered luxury cycle tours and events across Europe. In 2019 he was awarded Writer of the Year at the PPA Awards.
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