The sun shone brightly on Team Ythan when the Tour Series made its Aberdeen debut on Thursday, May 25, with club members securing a host of podium finishes throughout the day.
Already a keenly anticipated event among the cycling fraternity of the North-east, a fever for all things bike-related spread and enveloped the city-centre on the day itself.
In what was a feast for the senses, shop windows were decorated, bunting was draped across Union Street, cow-bells were ringing, and the crowds cheered themselves hoarse for a series of races throughout the day.
The atmosphere was electric, and the racing high-octane from the off.
Most of the races took place around a 1.2 km circuit incorporating Union Street, Union Terrace, Belmont Street, Little Belmont Street, Back Wynd and back onto Union Street.
A fast, open circuit, it included some tricky corners in the cobbled section around Belmont Street.
The day began with the Active Schools U8/U10 race. During 15 minutes of fast-paced racing for the youngsters, Ythan CC rider Matthew Smith led almost throughout, but was pipped in the final lap, and crossed the line in second place.
The overall winner of the category was Dean Fearn, who is not attached to a club.
Matthew finished second overall, with both riders picking up first places for Youth D and Youth E. Rhuraidh Craig finished in 22nd.
Ythan had a further two representatives in the U12 race.
Ross McArthur rode well to finish in 17th place, while Eilidh Craig followed soon after in 22nd place.
The winner was former Ythan rider, Elliot Rowe, who now races for Deeside Thistle.
The U14 race was a hotly contested affair, with its fair share of drama.
One of the club’s most promising youth riders, Daniel Kain, crashed on the off-camber left-hand turn from Belmont Street onto Little Belmont Street.
Undeterred he showed real spirit and determination by not only getting back up, but also working hard to catch the lead group. Fellow Ythan rider Fraser Gault rode a fast race to take second place.
Two Ythan 12 year-olds also competed in this race - Mac Leven and Johnny Cornfield - both of whom were a credit to the club, finishing in 7th and 8th respectively.
Among the 50 riders competing in the 40-minute CAT 3/4 race were Thomas McLeman, who finished in 27th place, and Andrew Leith, who retired after another rider crashed into him. CAT 3 rider, Andrew Ennis from Deeside Thistle, claimed the win.
A further 50 riders competed in the CAT 2/3/4 race, seven of whom were proudly sporting Ythan jerseys. All put in a sterling effort, with Tom Gelati dominating throughout with a superb performance.
Gelati led a breakaway group of around 12 riders, including team- mate Alan Smith, for the entire race and went onto win the sprint finish.
Smith was not so lucky, crashing out of the race with only 4km to go, on the same corner that had almost scuppered Daniel Kain’s race earlier in the day. Unfortunately Smith landed on the shoulder he had already fractured in January, and was unable to carry on.
The women’s race was contested by 16 riders, including two from Ythan – Kathleen Thomson and Carol Middleton - who finished in 7th and 10th respectively. Inverurie rider, Amanda Tweedie from RT23, crossed the line first, after an exciting battle between with Jenny Stanning (Edinburgh) and Ellon’s Karolyn Brown, who finished third .
To put the times into perspective, the fastest rider on the day, according to Strava, was professional rider, Bigbob Joylove with a lap time of 1:43. The lap times of the riders in the support races demonstrate the effort that was put in by all during the event, and is testament to the skill of the riders of all ages.
The climax of the day was the elite event, the Tour Series race, which kicked off at 7.30. Some of the world’s best professional cyclists flew round the Aberdeen circuit, most notably Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy.
The thousands thronging the streets were treated to a thrilling race, which culminated with Jack Pullar winning for BIKE Channel Canyon.
The Tour riders rode a slightly different and faster circuit to the Ythan riders above, and had the tricky technical session on Belmont Street removed.