Wrenthorpe cycling star Wood to race for Great Britain in Junior Paris-Roubaix road race

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MERRIE City cycling ace Oliver Wood will face his toughest challenge yet in the saddle after achieving selection to race for Great Britain in the prestigious Junior Paris-Roubaix road race.

The 16-year-old, from Wrenthorpe, has been named in Great Britain’s six-rider under-18 team, made up from British Cycling’s Olympic Development Programme (ODP), for the famous race next month.

It’ll see him tested to the limit against the best young riders from Europe and on one of the toughest routes.

Geraint Thomas, in 2004, and Andy Fenn, in 2009, are among the British names to have won the race.

The 122km route will cover the final 16 cobbled sectors of the Paris-Roubaix senior race, that takes place on the same day of Sunday, April 8, and carries the nicknames of ‘The Hell of the North’ and the ‘Queen of the Classics’.

It’s a tough prospect for the Outwood Grange Academy student, but one he can relish thanks to his rapid development under the watchful eye of his ODP coaches.

He’s also experienced competition on the continent thanks to five races in Holland last year with the Olympic Talent Team and will get valuable endurance racing over 65 miles in the first race of the National Junior Road Race Series in Wales next weekend.

He’ll join Tao Geoghegan Hart, Jonathan Dibben, who finished fourth in the race last year and is tipped for glory this time, Chris Latham, Harry Tanfield and Sam Lowe as part of the Great Britain team at Paris-Riou

His selection for the trip to France was secured thanks to impressive performances on two British Cycling camps in Newport, Wales.

The latest came at the weekend, where he finished third overall. Highlights were victory in the elimination race, second in the points race and flying lap, and third in the individual pursuit.

Wood will navigate the French roads using his Raleigh road bike, provided by his BBM Revolution Cycling Team, and will prepare with a local race in Lincoln this weekend.

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