Wrenthorpe cycling star shines on big stage

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WRENTHORPE cycling star Oliver Wood went wheel-to-wheel with Olympic and World champions on the track on Saturday night and didn’t look out of place.

The 16-year-old rode as part of a two-man Sportscover Altura team in the first round of the Revolution Series at the sold-out National Cycling Centre in Manchester.

The series is the world’s only elite track league and saw Wood competing against 23 top-class riders such as Olympic champions Ed Clancy and Steven Burke and Team Sky’s British Time Trial champion Alex Dowsett.

And he wasn’t daunted, with better-than-expected results putting the Outwood Grange Academy student’s name firmly on the elite cycling map.

“We went into it not really knowing what to expect from Ollie but he rode extremely well,” said his dad and trainer Alastair.

“He wasn’t daunted by the experience even though it was the biggest event he’s competed in and he didn’t look out of his depth.”

Wood, who is part of British Cycling’s Olympic Development Programme (ODP), competed in five events on the night and got off to a flying start with a fourth-placed finish in the endurance flying lap.

He finished only behind Olympic champions Clancy and Burke as well as Paralympic champion Jody Cundy and finished ahead of household names such as Christian Grasmann, Peter Schep and Alex Dowsett.

The Wakefield star’s impressive opening ride set him up for the rest of the night and encouraging races followed in the madison time trial (9th), endurance points race (10th), endurance elimination race (8th) and endurance scratch race (19th).

His rides, coupled with those of team-mate Alistair Slater, helped the Sportscover team finish seventh from 12 teams in the opening round.

The second round will take place in Manchester on Saturday, December 1 and Wood could be involved again, with his team lining the youngster up to compete in at least two of the four rounds.

There was no rest for the talented pedal pusher, who travelled down to Wales the morning after his Revolution Series exploits to take part in a week-long ODP training camp.

Wood has been selected to continue on the prestigious programme for a second year and travelled to Newport for an induction camp.

Included in the camp was a Welsh Elite Track League meeting in Newport and the Wrenthorpe ace rode in four races. He won two and finished second in another to continue his fine form in front of the British Cycling coaches.

See this week’s Wakefield Express for all the latest sport from around the district.