Near Miss In Ilkley Stage Race

Giant Halifax RT fielded a three-man team of Dylan Westley, Max Rushby and Josh Greenwood in the Ilkley 2-Day Stage race, held over a couple of beautiful days of late spring sunshine.

Above: The team are launched on their way in the Team Time Trial

The team had a strong weekend, not without incident, and came away with third place overall for Dylan. But it took big efforts by all three riders to get Dylan into that position.

The opening individual time trial saw Max squeeze into the top ten, and second Junior, with Dylan and Josh 49th and 45th respectively.

But it wasn’t until the first road stage that things really began to happen for the team, with Dylan escaping with Sam Watson in the closing miles. Sam took the win with Dylan joining him in gaining over thirty seconds on the majority of the field. It had been a rolling stage with a climb to the finish, which had seen several strong attacks, including a lat one involving Max. It was in countering this move that Sam and Dylan got away. The first day ended with Dylan in second place overall.

A very strong team time trial, with Dylan, Max and Josh taking third place despite their restricted junior gears, lifted Dylan into the overall lead and put him in the yellow jersey for the final and decisive stage.

Stage four was a brutal 36 miles, most of which seemed uphill. A two-man break went from the gun, consisting of Holmfirth’s Glen Hale and Freddie Jagger of Team B38 / Underpin Racing. Throughout the stage the main field chased and seemed to be controlling the gap to the leading duo at about 50 seconds. If this had been maintained to the finish, it would have given the overall win to Dylan and all three Giant Halifax RT riders were working hard to achieve this.

Right: Dylan ready for the final stage and wearing yellow

However disaster struck with 15km to go when Dylan punctured. Josh’s quick thinking almost saved the day as he quickly handed his bike over to Dylan. Dylan managed to regain contact with the chasing group, but in the confusion the gap rose to a point where the yellow jersey was in danger. The team chased hard for the last lap and a half but in the end the 2-rider break just held sway, coming in just over a minute clear.

That was enough to push Dylan down into third place overall, though he had the consolation of picking up the blue jersey of the leading Junior rider. There was, of course, a sense of disappointment in this, but overall the team had a great weekend at a fabulous event and again rode really well as a unit. Josh’s selfless act of handing over his bike to Dylan on the final stage typified the spirit within the group.

Below, a rather fatigued trio reflect on a hard but satisfying weekend

We’d like to add a quick mention of the superb organisation by the Ilkley Club and especially the organiser, Tim Gill. And also of our team-mate, Jenson Young, who was guesting for the Yorkshire Junior Team and won the team prize with them!

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