TEENAGE cyclist George Wood said he surpassed all his expectations after enjoying a successful maiden British Road Race Championships.

Wood, 18, did not finish the 117-mile race but was diverted off the course with three loops remaining, after 4 hours and 1 minute racing. He would have been the fifth fastest under-23 rider and finished around 30th overall (of 144 riders) had he been allowed to finish the route.

The Canvey teen had come into last Sunday’s race with the sole ambition of finishing in the peloton, but says he far exceeded that goal. In fact, he was up at 4.30am the following day to work at Hannah’s Bakeries in Grays.

“It was a real battle and my legs are a bit sore but I am past the stage of tiredness. But it was such a fantastic experience for me. My teammates Luke Ryan and Rhys Howells did some great work and I was able to get in the chasing group at one point, in a bid to draw in the breakaway.

“We worked well as a group and were looking good to get over the line with a good time but then we were diverted off course, which was incredibly frustrating.”

Wood said his Richardson’s Trek teammates were pleased with his race, with the team clocking an average of more than 25mph.

“It was a challenging course,” added Wood. “The hills were really hard and that took a lot out of me but you have to deal with these things and I can look at what I have done with satisfaction.”

Meanwhile, Basildon pro Russell Hampton, 25, was left frustrated after latching onto an early breakaway, which included Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas.

Hampton, riding for Athlonsport – Cloud Nine Telecom, said he felt strong after the first ten miles, but his race was thrown into chaos after Thomas’s chain came off, meaning his group lost the quick pace set by the Welshman.


Russell Hampton in action at the time-trial

Hampton said it could have been a very different story had his opponent’s chain not come loose.

“I had a game plan going into the race,” said Hampton, who finished third in the race in 2012.

“I feel it would have worked well but we couldn’t claw back the gap to the main group once Thomas’s chain came loose.

“I knew the course fairly well so came into the race feeling mildly confident, but I put a lot into the time-trial, which may have taken its toll.”

Hampton finished eighth in the time-trial – 3 minutes 58 seconds behind friend and training partner Alex Dowsett.

“I was really pleased with the time-trial. I am not full-time anymore so it was always going to be difficult keeping up with the likes of Team Sky but it went well.”

Hampton is now gearing up for the 10-mile time-trial championships, in Yorkshire, at the end of August and the 25-mile equivalent at the start of that month, at the Lake District.

“I will be looking for a podium in these races. I am already looking forward to getting back on the bike.”