GEORGE Wood admits he came away from the National Road Race Championships feeling ‘gutted’.

The talented Richardsons-Trek cyclist finished 27th in a field of 135 riders, and was the fourth best placed under-23 rider in the 193km race on the Isle of Man.

Wood raced alongside Luke Ryan, Kieran Brady, Ollie Maxwell, Jez McCann and Josh Outram for the Leigh based team.

But the 21-year-old from Canvey, and his team manager Andy Lyons, was not impressed with the decision to ‘black flag’ the team after the race - meaning he potentially missed out on the chance to finish on the U23 podium.

“We weren’t told to sprint for the minor placings and we needed that to realise who would be on the podium,” said Wood. “We all had transponders on our bikes so not to be told was so disappointing.

“Going to the Isle of Man took a lot of our budget and to get third on the podium would have meant a lot.

“This must be changed. If circumstances had been different maybe I wouldn’t be saying it but it will always be someone’s problems unless they change the rules.”

All riders have transponders on their bikes which records placings and times.

Wood, along with a host of other hopefuls, was in the second group on the road at the finish but no final lap bell was sounded - with the group almost eight minutes down on the leaders on the 4.5 mile finishing loop, and believed to be in danger of being lapped.

This meant the final sprint was uncontested and no third place was awarded.

And this was a huge frustration to Lyons.

“George’s group was an exceptionally talented group,” he said. “They were going for third in the U23 category and our aim was the top three heading into the race.

“But instead of ringing the bell so they knew when they could sprint, they didn’t.

“It is so disappointing for him as he was the strongest U23 rider in that group in my opinion.

“It is ridiculous and we will be complaining to British Cycling.

“We go all that way, spend a lot of money and this happens.

“It’s our biggest race and its so frustrating and the other teams felt the same.

“The poor lad was devastated and had done the hard work and was let down by ineptitude.”

Wood added he felt slightly under the weather on the day and was hopeful of a more positive showing in the Tour of the Reservoir.

“It is a tricky one as we did everything right on the day I felt,” he said. “We covered the first move and that was the one that won the day, but I was gutted I didn’t get in that move.

“I didn’t get the full potential out of the day and I felt some flu-like symptoms at the start – my parents are ill at the moment.

“It is more frustrating as I started to feel really good at about 100 miles.

“I had the energy and if I had been in the mix I felt I would have done better.

“It is the Tour of the Reservoir this weekend and we are confident of a good result as the team is riding well.”