The final one!

Youth Tour of Scotland 2015

On the 3rd of Apri,l I arrived at Strathallan School for my second Youth Tour of Scotland. I was really looking forward to it, as I enjoyed it so much last year. I was delighted to be representing WoSCA for the second time at YToS. After we arrived the WoSCA team got kitted up and ready for a recce of stages one and four. As I competed the previous year I knew the routes, but it was good to refresh my memory.  We signed on and headed down to our accommodation. Once we got showered, we washed our bikes and went for dinner. I’m a fan of the food at Strathallan, as there is so much of it (hence why I earned the nickname Fatboy). After dinner we had our welcome meeting followed by the WoSCA team meeting where we collected our kit, hoodies and tops. We then rested prior to stage one.

4th of April (Stage 1 Forteviot Road Stage)

This stage had a rather big hill in it – I’m not renowned for my climbing ability. We warmed up at the school and rolled down to Forteviot. I got to the front of the grid and eagerly awaited the start. The race began and we didn’t get ten metres into before the first crash. After a restart we were finally away. The first lap was very fast and I was sitting in quite comfortably.  On the 5th ascent of the hill I lost contact due to poor positioning, I was just about to ride back on when there was an attack by an Isle of Man rider. I just missed the tail and once you’re off, you’re off. I then road to the finish and reserved my energy for the criterium. It wasn’t the best start to the Youth Tour for me, but I was ready to bounce back on stages two and three.

Later that night we had a workshop with the Regional pathway coach and ex-professional cyclist Ben Greenwood. As always it was very informative and gave our team a lot to think about before tomorrows stages.

5th of April (Stages 2 and 3 Perth City Centre Criterium)

These were the stages for me. It was a roasting hot day and I couldn’t wait to get racing! After warm up we headed to the start. The race began and everyone was jostling for the front positions. After about three laps I got in the top ten and remained there until the end. I didn’t contest the green jersey points as I was saving my energy for the finish, as I was looking for a stage win. I was hoping for a bunch sprint as this would suit me best,  but with 5 minutes to go Joe Nally and Stephen Dent attacked. I wanted them to get caught, but I looked to the more prominent teams to take up the chase, however no one really committed to it. At one to go Hugo Storey attacked and I caught him with a half lap to go and countered it. I had about 5 seconds to the bunch and I held it to the line to take third on the stage. I was really happy with my result almost getting that stage win I longed for.

The second crit began and the temperature was now 22 degrees Celsius. At the start I struggled to find my step, but after about 12 or so laps I got to the front and stayed there. Twenty laps in there was a terrible crash between two riders due to a car parked on part of the circuit and therefore the stage was abandoned because of health and safety concerns. They took the result on the last lap of racing before the crash which I was thirteenth on.  It was unfortunate, as I was aiming for a good result.

The evening activity was the Easter egg hunt! Someone stole our eggs… the mystery continues.

6th of April (Stage 4 Kermesse Road Stage)

This stage also had a large obstacle in the shape of a steep short hill. As long as I was positioned right I could stay in. We warmed up and waited for the start of the final stage. The race began and I was able to get to the front straight away in time for the first ascent. I stayed in the top five for nine laps, but on the ninth Theo Hartley drove over the top and I ended up at the back of the leading group.  I couldn’t move up and was dropped the tenth time. I helped a rider from my club who crashed to get back on the group and then I had no energy left.  I rode round to the end enjoying what was left of my final Youth Tour of Scotland.

I really enjoyed the YToS and its sad I will never do it again. I loved all of it and it wouldn’t be possible without a lot of help from various people. Thanks to WoSCA and my team manager Kenny Steele for aiding me in this YToS and Braveheart Cycling Fund for their support of WoSCA.  Also the organizers for running such a smooth event.

Lewis Stewart



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