Wood wraps up GB Euro ride with top-six celebrations in Gent

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OLLIE Wood’s first big venture into European track cycling ended in success over the weekend at the Gent International Track Meeting.

The Wakefield cyclist pulled on the red, white and blue of Great Britain to take on the best young cyclists from countries including Holland, France and Belgium, and returned home having extended his good reputation overseas.

The 17-year-old finished sixth in the Belgium meeting but was in a great position for overall victory until being disqualified from the scratch race for making contact with an opponent.

But victory in the team pursuit and flying lap, a second place in the individual pursuit and third-placed finishes in the madison and 1km time trial ensured a good first outing on a European track for the Outwood Grange Academy pupil.

“It was my first major competition on the track in Europe and I was pleased with how things went,” said Wood.

“It was a slower track than the one in Glasgow [where Wood competed in the Development World Cup] but my times were still good, I was only marginally slower than Glasgow.”

The competition took place at the Eddy Merckx Velodrome over the weekend and brought a close to the track season for the Wrenthorpe-based Sportscover Altura team member.

And it was a fine end to the indoor season, with Wood not only picking up valuable experience in high-end events such as the Revolution Series and Development World Cup - but bagging impressive results in them to really catch the eye of the British Cycling coaches.

He will now enjoy some relative down time from competitive action ahead of the forthcoming road season.

The major events, which include UCI Junior Nations’ Cup meetings, start in March and Wood is hoping to replicate his track success on the road after having his time in the open cut short by injury last year.

“It was a good way for me to start the year in Belgium and hopefully I can continue that on to the road,” he said.

“There are six lads picked for the squad and hopefully I can be involved in some of the flatter rides.”

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