Leon Atkins Becomes U14 Road National Champion

Leon narrowly outsprints Alex Coles to gain his 3rd U14 title. Photo: Huw Williams

Leon Atkins landed the third National Champions title of his young career on Sunday – his first on the road.

The 2022 Youth National Road Circuit Championships returned to the legendary Oliver’s Mount as part of the Scarborough Festival of Cycling.  Here the crème de la crème of youth riders came to battle it out on a circuit that saw them ride up a savage climb lap after lap, in the blazing heat to see who would be crowned the 2022 Under 14 & Under 16 champions.  

In the Under 14 boys race Leon Atkins looked strong and in control from the start, moving to the very front of the 60 rider race by the end of the first lap.  Leon remained here with the front riders whilst lap after lap, the arduous climb saw riders drop back during the 55 minute event. With 2 laps to go Leon was still in the front group of 3 riders with a sizeable gap to the 2nd group.  The gruelling 55 minute race came down to a sprint for the line in a nail biting 2 up sprint which Leon won to claim the title.

The title retains the U14 boys road jersey for the Welwyn Wheelers after Henry Hobbs’ win 2021 and replicates Oliver Stockwell’s U16 win for the club at Olivers Mount in 2018.

In the Under 16 boys  Ethan Storti and Henry Hobbs rode well and held their own in a field of over 100 riders.  Ethan kept his head in a very hectic and fast peloton; he moved steadily through the field and wound up inside the top 50 in a brutal race that was impressive to finish. Henry Hobbs remained with the front bunch for much of the 60 minute race until the front 4 riders created a break and Henry held his place in the 2nd group, finishing the race in an excellent 9th position.

This latest win means that Leon now holds an impressive 3 national titles across three disciplines – road, cyclocross and mountain biking. Elsewhere this season Leon has won the National Mountain Bike Series, each of his national Track omnium qualifiers and more recently the 4 stage National Road Series race, Deux Jours de Londres. Eyes are now firmly on the National Mountain Bike Championships in Scotland at the end of July where he is looking to defend his title, before heading to Switzerland to compete in the European Youth Mountain Bike Championships!  

Photo credits:  Huw Williams