Donovan sees off British number one

Date: Monday 8th May 2017

EDEN cycling star Mark Donovan, aged 17, produced a stunning solo attack to ride to stage three victory at the Sleepwell Hotels Isle of Man Junior Tour, and with it took the overall race win.

In the process, he beat Great Britain’s number one junior rider, Tom Pidcock, making it a massive result for the former member of Penrith-based Beacon Wheelers, who now rides for Zappi Racing Team.

The final stage included the spectacular climb along Marine Drive for the first time in the history of the Isle of Man Junior Tour. The exposed road cut into a cliff edge overlooks the island’s capital and made for a true test of climbing and descending skills.

Mark’s father, Peter, added: “Winning on the Isle of Man was a big result for Mark. It was his biggest domestic result and to beat Tom Pidcock is a bonus. Tom is the best junior rider in the country, and probably the best junior from the last decade. He is the current world junior cyclocross champion, and will be GB’s number one rider for the junior world champs in the autumn.

“Mark had to race a really positive and attacking race and spend all his time in the breakaway groups in the hope one would stay away from the peloton.

“In the closing stages of stage three he was lucky to be joined by a rider from a rival team, but who he has raced with in Spain, and together they managed to keep the peloton at bay, with Mark soloing from the last hill to the finish.”

Since winning the first contest of the Spanish national junior race series in February, Donovan has raced a couple of times in Belgium. The first race involved a trip to hospital for x-rays, but he was not badly injured.

The next big target was to be the Junior Tour of the Mendips at the beginning of April, featuring some big hills, one of which starts in front of his grandparents' home. However, he was taken down in a race in Wales the previous weekend and suffered bad “road rash”, meaning he lost a lot of skin so did not race.

A quick training/racing trip to the Basque country at Easter resulted in a win in a hilly race and an 11th place in a flatter contest.

Over the summer Mark has stage races in Holland, Belgium, France, Spain and Italy, and will be looking for a place in a Spanish or French under-23 team for next year.