August Bank Holiday weekend will bring together some of the best young riders in Britain for the 29th edition of the RIS Junior Tour of Wales, and the organisers reckon that this will be the toughest ever with two steep 3 mile climbs as the sting in the tail of stages 2 and 5 on Saturday and the Monday of the Bank Holiday (29th – 31st August).
Past edition of the Junior Tour have been the proving ground for top British cyclists including Mark Cavendish who rode the Junior Tour in 2004. Teams and individual riders come from all over the British Isles and are the best junior riders from the home countries and Ireland.
Stage 1 starts at 10.30am on Saturday 29th from Brynmawr near the HQ at Nantyglo Leisure Centre and is the usual 10km Time Trial over hilly terrain to the back of the Tumble climb. The 80 riders will then assemble at Brynmawr Market Square and roll out on Stage 2 when the Mayor, Councillor John Williams, drops the flag at 3.00pm.
The event heads down the Heads Of the Valleys road to Gilwern and the start proper along the Usk Valley via Crickhowell and Llangynidr onto Talybont to join the A470 at Brecon to climb to the first prime of the Stage. A fast 8 miles takes the riders through Bronllys to turn right at 3 Cocks and onto the next sprint at Talgarth. A change of direction from previous years because of roadworks takes the peloton through Llangorse village alongside the lovely lake to turn right in Bwlch. Left a further mile down the A40 brings the race back to Talybont and retrace the earlier tracks to climb Llangynidr mountain a 3 mile climb with a last vicious ascent to its highest point and the Finish.
Bryn Bach Park circuit is the scene of stage 3, starting at 11.00am, a closed road lap of 3km which after an hour plus a lap will find riders struggling up the 0 to 30 metre per lap climbing by the finish. If they have anything left they can sample the new international standard BMX track alongside but it’s not compulsory! The circuit and the BMX track are just a part of the cycling facilities Blaenau Gwent Council, sponsors of the Junior Tour since it’s start, are providing at the Park.
Stage 4 sees the riders leaving Brynmawr Square at 3.30pm on a 47 mile loop down the A465 and A40 to Raglan and Monmouth and returning to Brynmawr around 5.30pm. Stage 5 starts at Nantyglo Leisure Centre at 10.30am and runs along the A465 to Hirwaun before turning over the Brecon Beacons to Storey Arms and down to Brecon and on to Abergavenny. A 62 mile jaunt which sees them climbing up the relentless Tumble Mountain to finish at the summit at around 1.00pm keeping the suspense of who will win overall right up to the end.
The Mayor will present prizes at 3.00pm at Nantyglo Leisure Centre. This year sees a new sponsor, Maxgear, who have designed and are providing all of the winners jerseys. For further information please visit www.juniortourofwales.org or www.maxgear.co.uk
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.