O’Briens claim podium places in French trip
THERE were two podium places for young Amersham cycling siblings the O’Briens at the Mini Paris Roubaix in France last weekend – and so very nearly a third.
Following a series of top placings in the National Youth Cycling series, St Mary’s School pupils Joe, 10, Bobbie, eight, and Finn, seven, decided to up the game by taking on the youth version of the classic Paris Roubaix race.
The Roubaix is known as ‘the hell of the north’ among the professionals due to the brutal cobbled roads it covers, and although the mini version is shorter in distance, it still takes in some of the tougher stretches of the route – a tough challenge for younger riders.
First to race was Finn, who more than matched the 60-strong field with an attacking ride over the cobbles, leading the chase after two Belgians broke away with 3km to go and eventually crossing the line in fourth.
Bobbie managed to go one better in her age category, overcoming her fear of the cobbles to finish in a fantastic third in her 15km race that saw several riders crash and puncture due to the severity of the surface.
Finally, Joe, riding in a field of more than 100, instigated the break on the first cobbled section with a French and an Australian rider and, with all three entering the finishing straight neck and neck, Joe’s sprint to the finish earned him second place – just half a wheel off the winner.
Next up, the O’Briens travel to Cardiff this weekend to defend their national ranking positions at the Welsh Velothon youth races. Joe O’Brien in action in France; (inset) Joe O’Brien finished second on the podium