Up-and-coming young rider Tom Chandler just missed out on a podium finish and a young rider prize at a national stage race last week.
The Old Dalby rider has been busy making the step up from junior cycling to under 23s this season with Melton-based semi-professional team Metaltek-Kuota.
Chandler finished fourth overall at the Kalas Cup and second in the under 23 classification in the single-day road race in Somerset.
It was a timely morale boost for the 18-year-old who has had to adjust quickly to life in a whole new calibre of competition.
“The step up has been difficult, but a good experience this year,” he explained.
“I feel fortunate to have a team like Metaltek-Kuota and (team owner) Andy Swain looking out for me.”
The progess of the Scottish junior interntaional rider is being monitored closely by Scottish Cycling’s head of performance Gary Coltman, a fellow Meltonian and friend of Metaltek team boss Swain.
“I’ve had the opportunity to ride a few of the UK Premier Calendar events and learnt so much from them about that level of racing,” Chandler added.
“Hopefully next season I’ll be able to build on this and start to be more competitive at the higher level events.”
The Kalas Cup comprised of a short 8km individual time trial in the morning and a 130km road race in the afternoon.
Chandler judged his effort well over a TT course which consisted of a gradual climb before a flat, fast finish, taking the white jersey as best young rider and second place overall in the 63-strong field behind winner Matt Langworthy (Saint Piran).
“I paced my effort fairly well to what I knew I could do for that length of time, and was just seconds away from winning the stage,” he said.
Chandler went into the road race looking to retain his lead in the U23s and make up ground in the overall classification.
After biding his time and staying quiet in the bunch, he launched a series of attacks 50km out from the finish.
With three riders now up the road, the Leicestershire rider and a colleague worked together to escape the bunch and made it stick with around 20km to go.
Jack Billyard launched a solo attack at the head of the race, but Chandler caught one of the two other escapees, creating a group of three riding for third place.
He was pipped in the sprint and had to settle for fourth place, with stage winner Billyard having a big enough gap to take the top step of the overall classification, as well as the U23 prize.
Chandler will be back on home roads next week when he heads to Leicester with Metaltek-Kuota for the Castle Classic, the finale of the Premier Calendar season.
Following that he will compete in the East Midlands Championships and a few more road races before beginning a winter of track racing.
He added: “I’d like to thank both Paul and Louise from PB Performance Coaching who have been coaching me for the past month and helping me get more from my training.”