O’Briens claim podium places in French trip


Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - SPORT -

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


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