Cycling: Smith sisters make encouraging starts

Libby Smith
Libby Smith
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Matlock Cycling Club’s Smith sisters travelled to the Isle of Man to compete in the tenth IOM International Youth Tour.

Over 300 of the country’s best young riders competed in the UK’s toughest cycle race for under 16s and this year’s event proved to be no exception.

Ellie Smith

Ellie Smith

The event comprised three stages: a prologue time trial on the promenade of the capital Douglas, followed by a tough hilly road stage on a 7.5 km circuit and a final circuit race on the coast road at Ramsey.

In the U10 girls’ competition, younger sister Libby won the prologue by one second from Isabella Escallera of Hillingdon Slipsteamers, who currently tops the national rankings.

On stage two, the U10s started at the top of a long and fast decent and then raced up a steep hill to the finish.

Libby and Isabella swapped the lead several times before the Matlock rider pulled away in the last 100m to take a further 14 seconds on GC.

In the final stage, Libby secured an overall win in the girls GC competition, the points jersey and fifth place overall. It moves her into a leading position in the National Youth Circuit Series after two events.

While older sister Ellie faced tough competition in the U12s event with strong teams from Scotland and the Isle of Man, together with some outstanding individual riders.

In the prologue, the first three riders finished within two seconds of each other, with Ellie taking third place from Nicole Clark of Birkenhead North End and the IOM’s Emily Brydson taking the leader’s pink jersey.

With three climbs of the tough finishing hill, stage two proved to be decisive for the GC competition with Ellie and Nicole distancing Emily and the other girls by several minutes.

Both girls rode with exceptional skill, courage and strength with Nicole finally getting away when their group split in two on a fast decent.

Nicole eventually won the stage by 14 seconds, but Ellie took the points competition jersey into the final stage.

Stage three turned into a classic circuit race with a leading group of riders pulling away, including Ellie and Nicole.

The leading group stayed together until the final lap when Lewis Askey of Lichfield CC escaped with impressive speed to win the boys GC and points competitions.

Ellie and Nicole finished together in the leading group resulting in Nicole taking first place and Ellie taking the runners up Trophy and 14th place overall in a mixed field of more than 70 riders.