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11th February 2024 – Race 4

A selection of riders from the Lee Valley Youth Team rode race four of the five-race series Grans Voltes a Mallorca – Un Hivern a Mallorca.

The route was 120km in length, starting in Cala Millor outside the Bici Sancho bike shop, heading out to Capdepera and then turning left to Arta, before completing two laps of a 40km circuit skirting around Sant Llorenc and Son Servera before heading back to the finish line in Cala Millor, the racing ending where it had begun, outside Bici Sanchos.

The field consisted of 102 riders, including six juniors, three from the Lee Valley Youth Team – Stanley Cooke, Edward Charles and Paul Opie, one woman (Nuria Tauler Lorenzo) and a mixture of U23s, seniors and masters in the 30+ and 40+ categories. As well as locals and the LVYT there were teams from Germany and The Netherlands, who were in Mallorca on training camps and had taken the day off from training to race. There was also one World Tour rider - Jardi van der Lee of EF Education-EasyPost.

Race Report

There was a slight delay to the start as the race waited for series leader, Dario Ibenez Mesa, to repair a puncture. Once resolved, the action got underway and three local riders broke away. After 20km as they entered Arta, their lead had extended to almost 1:30. The rest of the race was a wearing down process as the peloton sought to close the gap. Just prior to the start of the second circuit, the breakaway trio became a duo as one of the leaders dropped back to the peloton, and by the start of the final circuit the pair’s lead was down to a handful of seconds.

With the leaders having been swept up on the final circuit the spectators in Cala Millor were treated to a sprint finish as Bruno Kessler, a U23 from the Rad Net team from Germany crossed the line first ahead of his team mate Benjamin Boos. Jardi van der Lee (EF Education-EasyPost) finished in third place. 

Of the 102 riders on the start line, 72 completed the race. The Lee Valley Youth team juniors had mixed fortunes: Edward Charles crossed the line with the peloton as first Junior, finishing in 19th place, on the same time as the winner. Stanley Cooke was the second junior, finishing 43rd, also on the same time as the winner. These were the only two juniors to finish the race. The third LVYT rider, Paul Opie, suffered a mechanical issue on the second lap and was unable to continue.

After the race – Edward Charles said: ‘It was quite an intense race, very competitive, with Rad Net Team controlling the race and organising their team well for the finish. I wasn’t too worried about the break as Rad Net seemed to have it all under control and they brought the whole race back together at the end. It was a very technical finish. I was happy to win it, especially as it was my first time racing against seniors abroad.

18th February – Race 5

The full complement of 14 members of the Lee Valley Youth Team made the trip out to Mallorca this weekend for the final race of the series. This time, the total number of riders taking the start was 122, with local riders racing against teams from Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and the UK. Also racing were three junior members of the LIV Halo Films CC: Millie Jenkins, Jessica Rich and Megan Lloyd.

Slightly longer at 133km, the course for the final race began outside the renowned Tolo’s Bar and Restaurant in Puerto Pollenca, rolling through Pollenca Old Town before heading south to Sa Pobla. The course skirted the town on the ring road before returning north-east along the infamous ‘Marsh Road’ (known for its headwinds when heading home in the afternoons). The riders then rode around Playa de Muro and Alcudia before racing along Pollenca Bay to complete the first of three laps. At the end of the third lap the riders then headed out towards Cap Formentor aka ‘The Lighthouse’ to finish the race at the lookout point. A challenging 3km climb at an average gradient of 6% provided the final challenge, rising approximately 190 metres to the finish line – a difficult finish for the riders and a fitting crescendo to the race series.

Prior to the race, last week’s Junior Race winner, LVYT’s Edward Charles confirmed that he wasn’t too confident going into the race – he was feeling a bit under the weather and was happy to be on lead out duties, to bring his stronger team mates to the foot of the climb in a good position.

Race Report

The race stayed together for the first lap, and then a breakaway group of ten riders escaped, including Charlie Abraham of the LVYT, as the race left Pollenca on the second lap. They never really established a substantial lead, however, and we caught at the beginning of the third lap. The bunch remained together as they race headed towards the final, building tension as it would all come down to who could fare best up the climb.

The climb quickly took its toll, splitting the field as they ascended to the finish. The winner was Anton Albrecht from the German team PS Metalltechnik. In a close finish, Bruno Kessler (Rad Net), last week’s winner was pipped at the post to finish second, ahead of local rider Marc Torres Colomar (Seleccio Balear). Reece Williams was the first LVYT member to cross the finish line in 5th place overall to take the Junior’s win, eight seconds behind the winner. Teammate Charlie Abraham finished 14th, 41 seconds down to take the second Junior spot and Tom Mead was one place behind, finishing on the same time to complete a clean sweep of the Junior podium for the Lee Valley Youth Team.

In the women’s category, two women finished: U23 Ainhoa Moreno Ossowsky (Aromitalia 3T Vaiano) and Junior Millie Jenkins, of British team LIV Halo Films CC. Overall, 101 of the starting 133 riders finished the event.

After the race, Reece Williams spoke to the race commentator on the podium: ‘I was very happy to come here and win a very hard race. I’d like to thank my team mates for getting me to the foot of the climb in a good position and I was very pleased with how I rode the climb.’ Williams confirmed he would like to come and race in the series again next year: ‘yes, definitely – every year.’ subscribers can get a 5% discount on cycling holidays in Mallorca with Ciclos Major - please sign up using the below link.

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