Paris Roubaix 2019

!!!SYRT Win in Roubaix!!!

SYRT took one rider to the Youth Paris Roubaix this year Abbey Thompson. Abbey has had a good year to date in Under 10s. She has won every race she has finished including the U10 girls National Championships, the National Youth Series Road Race in the Isle of Man along with many more. The pinnacle of Abbeys season was a weekend trip to France and back (referred to as a bounce) last weekend.

We had to get to the hotel early Saturday afternoon, change, then find the start of the course, recce the Paris Roubaix course (including exactly where to start, lines though the neutralised zone, how to make a decisive break, how to deal with the top international riders fighting for the win, how to stay relaxed and not stress and above all… “self-belief”. Then it was back to the hotel by 9pm, eat, sleep and be up by 07:30 to eat breakfast, pack the car, check out of the hotel and drive into Roubaix some 20 miles away to sign on. Unfortunately, even the locals didn’t understand the race, so no helpful answers. The toilet signs at Roubaix existed, which started off being promising, but they were circular which infuriated even the French riders. The bottom-line being there were no toilets.

Once signed on, we took the option to not mess and drive straight to the start. We used our own prepared food and drink, rather than take a chance with upset tummies. We arrived into the village of Chereng, where the start appeared to be. Once at Chereng we soon made friends with the famous Maindy Flyers, who we had met in other racers during the season, the French team with national and regional, as well as department champions (I need to google that), as well as lovely Dutch riders and families etc. Our one common theme was that no-one knew what the heck was happening and we had to literally prize the information from the officials, who to be fair were lovely people

Two hours to go, we found a building site with an unofficial Portaloo hidden on site, behind Team Frances awnings. A few beers exchanged, as currency, and the loo’s were now marshalled by Team France with access to the British riders given. This turned out to be quite a big deal and gave the Brits some Kudos.

There was a lot of posturing, team riders swarming of the local village centres etc going on.

1 hr to go and nearly all of the riders were making mistakes in the 32-35 degrees of heat. Abbey played it cool, and did her standard prep. The start was neutralised, so it was important to work out where to be in the role out. The girls started at the same time as the boys, but were allowed to start at the front of the 80 plus field. The race was very professional looking with motor cycle out riders, commissaires car, and general convoy. At the last minute the organisers realised that they needed to get a police car from the back of the stationary peloton to the front…. on a narrow road. The shuffle took about 10 mins with a lot of smiling parents. The riders rolled out at quite a pace.

Parents were not allowed to follow the course which caused a bit of mayhem getting back to Roubaix before the riders.
Back to the race, Abbey took her first planned attack, which turned out to be decisive. She reached the first of three sections of Pave (very, very tough cobbles) in first place.

We know boys are faster than girls, so it was only a matter of time before the faster boys passed Abbey, which happened during the first cobbled section. Abbey then pushed hard utilising the lines the boys used ahead, as she was not that familiar with the course. Over the short 10Km course Abbey maintained first place with a 30 second gap all the way to the last 2Kms. We think the marshals expected the riders to know whereto go, but at 2k to go there was a fork in the road that she hadn’t seen on our recce ride the previous day. After some waved arms and a foot down, the marshals saw the issue and pointed the way to go. The gap to 2nd place had reduced, but Abbey has been taught to not panic and got back into her rhythm and pushed hard into the famous Roubaix Velodrome.
I managed to park 2Kms from the stadium and missed Abbey winning, but found her and she told her story.

The presentations came straight after the U23s finished with British World champion, Tom Pidcock, winning his race. Abbey received a lovely presentation and a jovial mention alongside Tom Pidcock that made her smile.

We then literally rushed home with Abbey laden with flowers, a piece of Pave and a Trophy.

Next year we should have a strong team out there and hopefully more success.

The team is always looking for more riders, so contact us if you are interested in joining in the fun.

The team is always looking for more riders, so contact us if you are interested in joining in the fun.

2019 Youth National Championships at OULTON Park – May 2019

A bit shy to point to the stripes

Suffolk Youth Race Team travelled to Oulton Park in Cheshire with Abbey and Aaron, supported by their families.

Abbey and Aaron both had terrible starts, got hustled off a rolling start line and ended up at the back due to a bit of unusual riding by a rider that eventually came almost last. They also both survived a crash in the peloton that split the u10s and u12s and both fought their socks off.

Both pulled through and got back into the group, with Abbey pulling herself just shy off the under 12 group off the front. Very strong ride from Abbey and she won the under 10 girls by a fair distance, and tbh I think only one boy in the under 10’s was ahead of her…. Aaron did well, until a Marshall pulled him off with the under 8’s after 2 laps… Luckily, club official, Riana was there to get him back on the track, by then some momentum, positioning had gone but he fought his was back. No idea where he came yet but he had a big smile afterwards, and really enjoyed riding the race course… ‘dad it felt like the tour de France with the motorbikes alongside us’… We know Aaron has loads of work to do but he enjoyed himself so for me, it was a success (by Billy Pittson).

There are plenty of riders in the team coming through that could do well next year.

Proud National Champion
Aaron and Abbey having a team pic taken before the start

Billy steadying Aaron on his rollers
An ever increasingly busy Pit Lane
Strange behaviour at the gridding area, with dad protecting Abbeys rear mech
Straight after the bad start with Abbey and Aaron way at the back
Abbey soon caught Sophia and passed using coached technique to pull a quick gap
Abbey then set off after eventual second placed girl Lauren
Aaron driving along the start finish line catching riders as he tried to make up time after being taken off
Determined to move up the field in pursuit of he next rider
Abbey making the hill look easier this year
Aaron passing another rider in contador-esque style
Abbey passing U12 boys
Breather before setting off after the next group of U12s
2nd U10 (1st girl) after losing so much time at the start
Abbey taking the flag to become National /champion, not that she knew that at the time
Gallant effort trying to catch someone who wasn’t there in the end
I think this is called dabbing
Happy riders after such brilliant efforts from both
Getting her gold Medal
3 happy girls
Happy Kids with coach
Team mates
Simply my favourite photo (by Riana)
Race report by Billy, Riana and Leon

SYRT AT THE isle of Man National Youth Series 3-day event – May 2019

At the end of March Abbey Thompson sponsored by Gibbons Plant Hire and Stonham Barns, with just five weeks to the Isle of Man National Youth Series 3-day Race, the biggest race of her season, fractured her right arm in a cycle racing incident at the Olympic Park in Stratford. After the accident, Abbey worked tirelessly to get fit in time for the race. She had been told by the doctors that she could not ride for 3-4 weeks after the injury. There was no way to know if she was ready until the first day’s race.

Day one was a 1.6Km sprint up a hill outside of Douglas. Abbey gave it her all and came second over-all with a healthy gap back to 2nd place, but with a ten second deficit to first place.  The winner was a very talented Melanie Rowe, daughter of Olympic Silver medallist Sarah Rowe.

Day two saw a daunting and very steep hill climb at Glen Vine. This race had a group start and Abbey had to fight from the back to lead within the first 300mtrs, with the knowledge she had to take the win and pull back the 10 seconds. Abbey led to the top of the hill in the points leader’s Green jersey, but the Pink jersey pipped Abbey on the line and gained more bonus seconds.

Day three was the road race at the National Sports Centre. This is Abbeys strength. Abbey knew she had to win the race and take out a lead of over thirteen seconds on the Pink jersey to take over-all winner and claim both Green and ink jerseys. Abbey had a bad start with riders either side of her clattering her off the line. Abbey overtook rider after rider on the first lap to be on the wheel of the Pink jersey by the end of the first lap. The riders came into sight on lap two with Abbey sprinting hard with an 8 second lead as she crossed the line. The Pink jersey worn by Olympic Silver Medallist Sarah Rowe’s daughter Melanie was in full pursuit. As the laps unfolded both girls were a long way ahead of the rest of the race, with the Pink jersey slowly reeling Abbey in. The Pink Jersey sprinted past Abbey, but Abbey using tactics sprinted too, passed the Pink jersey whilst sprinting took the time to look into the girl’s eyes before slowing a little, just to let her know she was still strong. Abbey sat on the Pink jerseys wheel until 4 laps to go, when she used a technique she was taught in her coaching sessions to break away again, this time it was all or nothing. Abbey knew 4 laps was enough to get the 13 seconds, and it was defendable. Any earlier and she risked being reeled in again. Abbey came across the line with around six seconds lead, the next lap a nine second lead. Then the Pink jersey head down and fighting relentlessly started to pull seconds back especially as they passed some back markers. Abbey eventually came across the line beating the previously unbeaten Scottish rider to take the Road Race win, over-all Green jersey, 2nd on general classification.

Primavera round 2

Abbey raced today at Primavera Round 2 at the Olympic Park in Stratford. It was a very windy day, with winds reaching 50mph. Plenty of medals for SYRT today.

Abbey winning at the Olympic Park

In the Under 10 Girls race Abbey took 1st place, hanging on, just, to Noah Smith’s wheel. Noah took 2nd overall, with Abbey taking 3rd overall.

SYRT at the Castle Combe Road Race 19th of April 2019

Suffolk Youth Race Team went down to Castle Combe for the Easter Friday Road Race. First race was the Under 8 Boys race and we had Callum Thompson representing the team; only 6 years old with 3 years left including this year in this category; it was a big ask to come anywhere other than last. As they started Callum clipped in quickly and took off down the start finish straight at quite a pace. As the field turned left into the pit exit and headed back up the hill, it was hard to see where the riders were placed due to the pit wall being between us and pit lane. The riders headed up past the last corner and back onto the start finish straight. To our shock Callum was in 3rd place with the field close in pursuit. Shouts out to Callum to change gear, but he was already there changing to top gear and sprinting down the straight. The other older lads closing in fast down the hill. Callum checked behind as we warned him of the closing peloton. He put his head down and pressed on. This happened for the 20 minutes of th e He put his head down and pressed on. This happened for the 20 minutes of the race with Callum obviously flying up the hill in the pit lane. The two riders who beat Callum were 8 year olds riding for ‘Cotswold Veldrijden’ and the very famous ‘Maindy Flyers’, the latter being the club of a number of Tour de France riders including one TdF winner. Callum was over the moon with his 3rd place and the £5 note he received as prize money.

Callum checking how close the chasers were
Post race bar of chocolate seemed to wear well…
Callum with the very friendly and nice officials

Next was the Under 8s Girls race. Suffolk Youth Race Team had Eva in the race on her new bike. Eva had a great start and was about 6th into the first corner. Eva powered up the pit lane overtaking her competitors as she went. Eva then had a ding-dong battle with a girl trying to take 4th place off Eva. Ever persisted and drove hard to keep her 4th place to the line. Eva was a little disappointed to be 4th, but considering the quality of the field, it was explained to her how well she had actually done. Its good for the youths to want to do well, it will drive them on in the future. Eva is now proud of her result, as are we. Great effort.

Eva at the Start line
Pre-race sighting lap for Eva in front and with her older sister
Eva (right) with her siblings and team mates

Last was the Under 10s race. Abbey represented the team in this race. Abbey has a history of winning road races, but on her birthday around 3 weeks ago, Abbey was involved in an two incidents in a road race in London, neither of them her mistake, with the second causing a fracture to her right arm. This race was her come back race. Abbey had been working on her indoor trainer for the three weeks she wasn’t allowed to ride. This keeps strength intact, but not aerobic capacity. There was also the psychological angle around commitment. Abbeys race had top quality riders in the field, with Orla Willis, ex-national champion and the top riders from the
‘Maindy Flyers’ Criterium League. The boys race started some 10-15 seconds before the race, so the ask to Abbey was to not focus on the girls, but see if she could close the 15 second gap and beat
the boys. Looking at the quality in the boys race, that wasn’t really feasible, but meant Abbey had to push for the whole race. The race was supposed to be 20 minutes long, but it felt more like 25 mins. Abbey had a protective sleeve over her fractured arm in case misfortune came along and she had a crash. There was a lot of concern as it wasn’t 4 weeks after the fracture.

As the whistle blew Abbey got a reasonably good start with the girls flying down to the first corner and almost getting past the last boy before the corner. As the girls rode up the pit lane they started to pass the tail of the boys race, but as the course narrowed and twisted around the back it became apparent the girls were losing time. As they came around the top corner, Abbey was in the lead with her friend and main rival over the years, Orla Willis, right on her wheel looking determined. Abbey pulled a two bike gap on the main straight to end lap one. The rest of the race was all about how many boys Abbey could catch before the end. Each lap Abbey over took at least one rider to get up to 2nd or 3rd overall by around 4 seconds, before she ran out of time. Abbey said she was more fatigued than normal which was understandable due to lack of training.

The event was really well organised with a very high quality field. If possible it will be an event we will look forward to next year.

Pre-race warm-up
U10 Grid
Abbey with Orla right o n her wheel, great to see the girls racing together
Last lap and long tiring race
Abbey (centre) with siblings
Abbey and Orla Willis hugging it out at the end of the race, both girls are great friends

SYRT Launch at Trinity Park CycloCross

Suffolk Youth Race Team (SYRT) had its launch on the 16th of December at IBC’s cyclocross event at Trinity Park. The team had 9 riders out in under 8s, U10’s, U12s and Under 14s out of around 16 approximately. Most of the riders were chasing league positions, with a view to move up a position or hold onto a position. The team is doing very well in the Eastern Cross League with Callum in 4th place and Eva in first place. In under 10s we have Abbey who is regional champion in 2nd place, and now after coming second on the 16th now not looking like regaining 1st place, and almost certainly coming 2nd. In under 12s we have the ever present and very quick Ben Howlett who is looking at 4th or 5th in the league, and is fighting hard. Ben came 3rd which was very good considering the field he is competing in and also beat Oscar Everett for the first time this year. Well done Ben. Outside of the league we had Oscar riding in Under 14s, who rode very well in a very fast race. I’m sure that Oscars mum, family and friends were impressed with his natural talent. Imogen and Kian both had a great time in the under 12s, after a lengthy time out. Great to see Imogen having fun, and enjoying the social gathering at the end of the race with her team mates. Monty rode very confidently in his first race in Under 12s, and finishing well. We met new members Tallulah and Aaron who should be racing before the seasons out. The youths had a great time, and that’s the most important thing.

Central England and Eastern England Combined Regional Cyclo-Cross Championships

Central England and Eastern England Combined Regional Cyclo-Cross Championships

Abbey Regional Champion

On Sunday Welwyn Garden City hosted the combined Central and Eastern Regional Cyclo-Cross Championships. The course was slippery after the previous night’s rain. As the Under10s and Under8s lined-up with deep concentration on their faces; the commissaire blew his whistle to start therace. The field burst into life with everyone checking who was around them. Abbey Thompson of ‘Suffolk Youth Race Team’ led the Under10 girls into the first corner with the top three boys just ahead of her. Abbey raced against Isabel Beale from Lea Valley and Katie Allsop from Hillingdon with mixed success this year; this time she rode away from both. The boys accelerated out of the corners quicker with Abbey reeling them back in along the straights. An elated Abbey took 1st place in the combined Central and Eastern U10 girl competition and is also Eastern Regional Champion. Callum Thompson started really well from the back of the grid, due to being only 5 years of age racing against 8-year olds. Callum stormed around beating a number of older riders. Callum finished 3rd in Under8 boys in the Eastern Region.

Abbey 1st Isabel Beale 2nd (not pictured) with centrals Katie Allot in 3rd in yellow. Abbey winning Central England and Eastern Region race

Abbey selling a dummy to Isaac

Callum in the middle

Abbey winning

Big start by all, with Isabel keeping an eye on Abbey

Regionals start

Callum coming 3rd Eastern Region U8 boy

Redgrave Cyclocross 2018

Redgrave Cyclocross 2018

Redgrave near Diss was the venue for round 11 of the Eastern Cyclocross league.

Under 10 Girls Abbey Thompson rode well, but got held up by a boy and couldn’t close the gap back to the leaders. Abbey finished 2nd girl.

This course wasn’t technical, but the long grass made it very energy sapping. Hopefully the next league round at Trinity Park Ipswich on the 16th December will favour our riders a little more.

Photos by Simon Howlett and Tommy Tomlinson