The Cycling Ulster Youth Team had a good outing at the Youth Tour of Scotland last weekend. The under 16 boys team consisted of Cathal Gallagher – Errigal CC, Ciaran Dixon – McConvey Cycles, Darren Rafferty – Island Wheelers and Odhran Doogan – Powerhouse. The under 16/14 girls team was made up of Ellie Kelso – East Tyrone CC, Maia Simmons – The Bikehouse, Maria McAllister – Island Wheelers and Rachel White – NDCC.
Manager’s report from the stages below.
Stage 1 Report
A great first stage to this years Youth Tour of Scotland. The girls were first up racing over 5 laps. Ellie was first Ulster rider home with Maria and Maia sprinting it out in the group behind. Rachel recovered well from an early crash. The Ulster girls finished Ellie, Maria, Maia and Rachel.
The boys race was next over 9laps. It was an eventful race. A rider came down in front of Ciaran on lap 3. He then had to wait for the neutral service and lost considerable time. Cathal later punctured but thanks to Team mate, Odhran, who sacrificed his own race by giving up his wheel, he had a strong finish. After the nine laps the Ulster boys finished Cathal, Ciaran, Darren and Odhran.
Stages 2/3 Report
Sunday had two stages. First up was the Team Time Trials. This isn’t an event that we do in Ulster but both our teams rode it superbly with all four riders in each team finishing strong and lining out properly for the finish.
Next up was the girls road stage with 5 laps of the same 6.9km course as the TTT was held on. After a hard day the previous day the race split early on. Maia, Maria and Ellie finished in a group with Rachel coming in not far behind.
The boys race was over 9 laps of the course. The bunch stayed together for the first few laps with some riders being shed out the back. Cathal has more misfortune with another puncture. The pace ramped up with numerous attacks off the front. Darren and Ciaran finished in the bunch with Odhran just off the back. This was a fast race with the boys averaging over 25mph.
Stage 4 Report
The last day of YTOS2018. What an event. Today’s stage was a kermesse. This was a short circuit with a short very steep climb. The girls had to do 9 laps whilst the boys did 16 laps. The course was a mixed surface with parts tarmac, parts gravel, plenty of potholes and the odd speed ramp.
The girls all had a great race with Maia, Ellie and Maria finishing close together and Rachel just a bit further back.
The boys race started fast from lap 1 and hardly let up. Cathal avoided all punctures today. There were a number of riders up front and then both Cathal and Darren finished in the bunch. Ciaran was just off the bunch and then Odhran came in behind him.
A fantastic day with all riders home safe and sound.
Feedback from boys team
“While I was at the YToS 2018, I really enjoyed my time there because I met new mates and it was really good racing. All the staff and managers did everything for me, all I had to do was race. They treated us very well and made the trip even better. I really enjoyed it.” (Cathal Gallagher)
“The Youth Tour of Scotland 2018 was a thrilling experience on and off the bike, with intense fast racing and many friends made over the weekend. The overall level of racing in the UK is of a much higher level and it was great to get a feel for it. Most of all, a big thank you to the managers, helpers and of course Cycling Ulster for giving us this opportunity, and in helping us in any way we needed.” (Darren Rafferty)
“I really enjoyed my time at the Youth Tour of Scotland 2018 and I was proud to represent Ulster. It is an experience I will never forget. The quality of racing was very high with a lot of great riders. It was great to experience the close racing of all 80 riders and this will definitely help my bunch riding skills. We also got to do a Team Time Trial, and this was my first experience of this type of event. I also got to race in a Kermesse for the first time which was a great experience. The racing was hard and the courses tough. I am very glad to have been here and hope to make more trips in the future. I would like to thank Cycling Ulster, Scottish Cycling and in particular Sean, Gary, Doreena and my dad Paul, without them we would not have been able to experience this great race.” (Ciaran Dixon)
“I was really glad to have been selected for the Youth Tour of Scotland 2018. I got to meet new friends and have the craic as well as racing my bike. The coaches and staff were very good and provided advice and were very helpful, providing us with anything we needed. I got the chance to experience a Team Time Trial for the first time. I loved that I got to ride for a team. It was very fast racing from the start to finish. I would like to thank Cycling Ulster for allowing me to experience a great weekend.” (Odhran Doogan)
Feedback from girls team
Firstly we would like to thank Cycling Ulster for bringing us to the Youth Tour of Scotland 2018. We would also like to thank the managers and helpers for looking after us and the bikes.
The first stage was an eye opener. It was a completely different style of racing compared to home. Some of our riders in our team were unfortunate to be involved in a crash but luckily everyone finished.
The second day involved a team time trial and another road race. With little experience with the team time trial, we managed to have an impressive ride with all four riders crossing over the line strongly together. The road race was next. Rachel was unfortunate to be involved in another crash but luckily didn’t fall. The circuit was fast and furious. The riders in our team managed to stay in the bunch for 3 laps. All the riders managed to finish strongly in the next group.
The fourth and final stage was a Kermesse with a hateful climb. The race went from the gun and stretched the field. We raced for 10 laps and despite our legs being busted, we all managed to stay safe and sound and completed all 4 stages.
Throughout the weekend we couldn’t have asked for better help from the coaches and Doreena’s free café, keeping us all hydrated and well fed.
We would also like to thank Paul for managing our team and keeping us informed throughout the weekend. We would also thank Gary for putting up with us in the long journey in the van and Sean for taking care of our bikes and for entertaining us.
Ellie Kelso, Maia Simmons, Maria McAllister, Rachel White