Overhauling a 34 second deficit from Saturday’s savage Lomond Hills Stage One finale, New Zealand rider Finn Fisher-Black in the colours of Netherlands outfit WWV Junioren took Stage Two and the overall win at the Junior Tour of the Kingdom in Kennoway on Sunday.
The event was superbly organised by Craig Grieve and his Spokes Cycles race crew with his team rider, Adam Lewis taking third on Stage Two and on final GC as well as best first year junior award.
It was only after the race we learned that Fisher-Black was a member of the New Zealand team which clocked a 4:01 to win the Junior Team Pursuit World Championship in 2018 and is the author of a world’s best 3:08 for a three kilometre pursuit.
No ‘surprise win’ once you’re aware of those facts.
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Junior Tour of the Kingdom – Stage One
Things have moved on since I was a junior cyclist back in ‘72/’73; ‘All riders must supply a wheel for service … rear wheels must have no less than 10 sprockets’ says the race manual.
I can remember the deep joy of screwing my first Maillard six speed ‘compact’ freewheel on to the rear hub, those five speed ‘blocks’ weren’t the answer for hilly races.
But it’s not just equipment; ‘Ormiston Miners Welfare’, ‘Thornhill Scout Hut’ or that contradiction in terms, ‘Kennoway Hall of Culture’ were the places we changed in.
But Madras College, Saint Andrews?
Surely there can have been few more beautiful and historic sign-ons than this one?
Organiser, Craig Grieve the owner of Spokes Cycles even organised rare Scottish June sunshine for the day.
I was with friend of VV and Spokes support man, Dave Chapman who was on marshalling duties at Strathkinness cross roads where the race passes three times, the first pass up from St. Andrews with those Spokes boys well up there.
The race route continued to climb along the Strathkinness ridge road before the tricky descent to the foot of the long drag of Dura Den – a famous area for geologists – at the head of the Den at Pitscottie they turned left to head back to Strathkinness with a King of the Mountains prime, this time, on the road back up to the cross.
Joe Wilson (Team Ribble) took it with the peloton around 10 seconds back.
There was no prime on their second lap of this circuit but Spokes recent Scottish Junior 10 mile ‘recordman’ Oscar Onley was clear with two Equiom Isle of Man riders.
With the Alfa SUV in the background appropriately branded, ‘Stelvio.’
The peloton was ‘compatto’ with just a few stragglers.
Dave’s next gig was at the Cults crossroads, the big lime works which stands there and was so busy back in ‘our day’ has long since closed its doors but this is still a historic spot, scene of Dave’s first race crash, in the Kennoway Mountain Time Trial circa. 1971.
Onley with big Isle of Man rider, Max Walker on his tail – yes, we know, Manx cats don’t have tails – were first round with a lead wearing on for one minute.
Just off the front of the bunch was a Zappi man on his kingfisher blue and orange Holdsworth, sending Dave and I back to the 70’s when hard men like Les West, Colin Lewis and Keith Lambert racked up the wins for the Holdsworth Campagnolo team across the UK.
It was a strung out bunch which climbed up from the crossroads.
We were off again, this time to the crossroads at Springfield Hospital where organiser, Craig explained to Dave that Oscar had ‘popped’ and it was the big Max chap from across the Irish Sea ‘en seule’ as the French say.
He was looking strong but there are a lot of long straight roads where the peloton can see you, between Springfield and the foot of Falkland Hill…
Next stop was the finish, with Falkland Village looking as picturesque as ever as we headed on to the climb; a hard ascent for any level of rider, never mind juniors.