League race wins for young rider

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Cyclist George Cooper is plotting further cyclocross success this winter after a successful summer.

The nine-year-old Bolsover rider, who won his age-group in the European Youth Tour of Assen earlier this year, is competing in two cyclocross leagues.

George, who rides for Bolsover and District Cycling Club and Sherwood Pines Cycles, has moved up to the under-12s age category in the Notts and Derby Cyclocross League after winning the under-9s last year.

Competing against riders up to two years older, he will take part in 11 15-minute long races compared to seven minutes previously — and on more technically-demanding courses.

The season couldn’t have got off to a better start than the Bolsover and District CC-hosted round at Hardwick Hall where, despite being gridded 26th on the start line, the youngster led before the end of the first lap and went on to win by more than 20 seconds.

In a tough second round at Markeaton Park, Derby,, George, was fifth before bouncing back to form when he won the third round at Shipley Country Park.

He is competing in the West Midlands Cyclocross League at under-10 level, where he was second last year. George has dominated the three races so far.

He also won a youth category at Bolsover and District CC’s Hardwick Hall Hill Climb by 14 seconds in a 2mins 28secs.

The under-12s riders took on the full course that the adult cyclists later competed on, with George taking the youth win by 14 seconds in a time of 2mins 28.

George also recently completed the Scott MTB Half-Marathon, a gruelling 30-mile mountain bike ride, as a tribute to Charlie Craig, a Hope Valley College student who died in his sleep in January.

Charlie, a keen bike racer, was on the same Derbyshire Sport ICON talented athlete programme as George, who has been nominated as a finalist in the Bolsover District Sports Awards, which will be presented on Friday.