Harry Yates traveled to Belgium to race in the World Cup, at the famous Koksijde cyclo-cross course this weekend. The sandy technical course was a great experience and very different to what is on offer here in the UK.
This discipline of cycling is extremely popular in Europe with in excess of 20,000 spectators attending the event to take in the atmosphere, with very large fields of riders in all categories.
Harry at only 14 years old was riding in the Nieuwelingen (Youth U16) age group. All the British riders who were racing had to start at the back of the start grid, so an immaculate start was essential to keep in with the strong Belgian lead riders.
After a great start Harry found a comfortable rhythm, and managed to put plenty of distance between him and his chasers. With 40 on the start grid he punched through with the sprint to the first corner to hold 15th position for the first lap. Then worked his way up the field distancing himself from chase groups to finish an extremely commendable 9th position and the 2nd British rider home. As a first year rider Harry is already looking forward to racing here next year.
Harry was selected earlier in the year to ride for Raleigh as the youngest of four riders to race as part of their RX race team and they have provided him with all his bikes and equipment for this seasons racing.
Harry said “ It was a fantastic experience to race at a World Cup. The competition today will be household names in Belgium for the future, so to have a top ten ride is incredible for me. I’ve never experienced an atmosphere like it.
“My aim was for a top 2 for GB, although having only just come back from a broken wrist, I really wasn’t sure if I would have the fitness.
“Its thanks to Raleigh bikes for providing me with such great equipment, as it is so essential to have the best kit available to perform at this level. Today especially, with all the extra demands that this world class course throws at you. The sand was difficult, but I prepared well and the RX bike and the TRP carbon brakes really performed for me.”