Sisters impress in Isle of Man International Youth Tour event

Ellie Smith leads the way up a hill during the Isle of Man International Youth Tour event last weekend. Photo by Phil Smith.
Ellie Smith leads the way up a hill during the Isle of Man International Youth Tour event last weekend. Photo by Phil Smith.

Matlock Cycling Club’s Smith sisters travelled over to the Isle of Man last weekend to compete in the island’s tenth International Youth Tour event.

With over 300 of the UK’s best young riders competing, the IOM’s International Youth Tour is regarded as the UK’s toughest cycle race for under-16s and this year’s event was no exception.

The event comprised three stages; a prologue time trial on the promenade of the capital Douglas, followed by a tough hilly road stage on a 7.5 km circuit and a final circuit race on the coast road at Ramsey.

In the U10 girls’ competition, younger sister Libby won the prologue by one second from Isabella Escallera of Hillingdon Slipsteamers, who currently tops the BC U10 girls’ national rankings.

On stage two, the U10s started at the top of a long, fast decent and then raced up a steep hill to the finish. Smith and Escallera swapped the lead several times before the Matlock rider pulled away in the last 100m to take a further 14 seconds on GC.

In the final stage, Smith secured the overall win in the girls GC competition, the points jersey and fifth place overall, including the boys.

The result moves Libby into a leading position in the National Youth Circuit Series, after two events.

Older sister Ellie faced tougher competition in the U12s event with strong teams from Scotland and the Isle of Man, together with some outstanding individual riders.

In the prologue, the first three riders finished within two seconds of each other, Ellie taking third place from Nicole Clark of Birkenhead North End and the IOM’s Emily Brydson taking the leader’s pink jersey.

With three climbs of the tough finishing hill, stage two proved to be decisive for the GC competition with Ellie and Clark distancing Brydson and the other girls by several minutes.

Both girls rode with exceptional skill, courage and strength with Clark finally getting away when their group split in two on a fast decent.

Clark eventually won the stage with by 14 seconds from Ellie, but Ellie took the points competition jersey into the final stage.

Stage three turned into a classic circuit race with a leading group of riders pulling away, including Ellie and Nicole.

This leading group stayed together until the final lap when Lewis Askey of Lichfield CC escaped with impressive speed to win the boys GC and points competitions. Ellie and Nicole Clark finished together in the leading group resulting in Clark taking first place and Ellie taking the runners up Trophy and 14th place overall in a mixed field of over 70 riders.

In other news, Patrick Gould broke another record in the club’s ten-mile time trial, breaking Richard Cordin’s club record of 21.47 by 14 seconds after powering away from the start and continuing his momentum.

In the ten-mile Winster Circuit Trophy, Chris Green collected another torpphy for his collction with a win in 27.58, while Matlock CC’s Long Dale ten-mile time trial saw James Tucker of Buzz Cycles take the win in 25.11, Matlock’s Leigh Fearn second in 26.07.