ALI Slater recorded the biggest victory of his fledgling career this week, winning the Isle of Man Youth Tour.
Fresh from his first continental victory in Belgium last week, Bourne-based Slater, recorded a dominant victory in the three-day tour, beating stiff competition from the best juniors in the country as well as teams from Ireland and Holland.
Slater recorded the ninth quickest time in the first stage, a short 1,300 metre time trial up and down Douglas promenade. He crossed the finish line in 1 minute 45 seconds, just four seconds off the leading time set by his teammate and national squad rider John Dibben.
The second stage was a brute, raced in blustery conditions combined with a devilish climb on each of the eight laps, making it a day for the hard men.
And Slater was in his element. Early on, he slipped into a five man breakaway which had the leading Dutch rider in it and team orders meant that the Bourne rider had to keep an eye on him, and protect the position of Dibben. But as they hit the last lap it became apparent that Dibben wasn’t going to have the legs to get up to the leading group and Slater put in a decisive attack.
He sprinted up the final hill to take the stage victory and take on the yellow jersey of race leader.
In the third and final stage, team roles were reversed with Dibben playing a supporting role to Slater.
On a course that was less demanding than the previous day’s, all Ali had to do was keep his head and use his teammates to help police any dangerous moves.
This was done to perfection with Owen Doull, another of Slater’s teammates getting away early on with another rider.
This took the pressure off Slater and he was able to cruise round in the bunch safe in the knowledge that his overall lead was going to remain intact.
Slater finished seventh on the final day, 90 seconds behind the stage winner, Doull but crucially in front of all his main rivals.
l SLATER’s winning trend has clearly been passed onto second year Bourne Wheeler Richard Lamb, who recorded his first ever road race victory in the Tockwith circuit races in Yorkshire at the weekend.
Lamb produced a stunning turn of speed, into the wind, 1km from the line to easily hold off the bunch and win the 20km race.
l BOURNE Wheelers road team raced at Spalding in the town centre races last Sunday.
Star of the show was 14-year-old Sian Botteley, who got within half a wheel of victory in the girls U16 race.
Aaron Bateman was 8th in the U12 race but youth club champion, Tim James, was taken out by another rider in the U14 race.
In the senior race, that capped off proceedings, Bourne’s riders rode brilliantly as a team with Matt Passenger in the race-winning break while Mark Botteley marshalled the bunch.
Matt crossed the line in fourth with Mark second in the bunch sprint to take sixth overall.
l BOURNE Wheelers held the third event in their evening 10 league competition on Wednesday, and for the third successive week, riders faced far from ideal conditions.
Quickest on the night was the Ali Slater with 22:48. Second with a new personal best was James Gelsthorpe with 24:05, just ahead of Mark Botteley who posted 24:12.
In the handicap competition, Phil Galpin took the honours thanks to a 26:33 time, with Robin Day claiming second with 27:11 and Colin Gilbert completing the podium with 32:07.
In the youth category, Sian Botteley and Aaron Bateman both recorded personal bests with times of 30:24 and 34:13 respectively.
l THE Wheelers’ youth section, The Bourne Bullets, begin their weekly coaching sessions on Monday.
The sessions take place at Recreation Road between 6pm and 7pm with all levels of riders, aged six to 14, welcome.
Training is supervised by British Cycling qualified coaches. For details call club coach Mark Botteley on 01778 423429.