Thrills and spills for brilliant young cyclist Josh

Wednesday 23rd March 2022 10:16 am
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Picture by Alex Whitehead/ - 04/03/2022 - British Cycling - 2022 British National Track Championships - Geraint Thomas National Velodrome of Wales, Newport, Wales - Josh Tarling wins Gold in the Men’s Points race.
Josh Tarling from Ffosyffin has been crowned National Senior Points Race champion and rode for the winning Welsh Team Pursuit squad (Alex Whitehead/ )

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Ffosyffin cyclist Josh Tarling has had a rollercoaster start to 2022 with two crashes and two national titles.

Back in January, whilst on a GB training camp at Manchester velodrome, Josh was involved in a high speed crash that saw him collide with younger brother Finlay and left him with four broken ribs and a series of grazes.

After a frustrating few weeks it was back to training with one eye on a series of races in Belgium and, more importantly given ambitions to ride in the Commonwealth Games, the National Senior Track Championships.

At 18 years old Josh is still a junior cyclist but is allowed to enter the National Senior Track Championships based on his results. Already a double Junior European Champion he was specifically targeting these championships as part of the selection process for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in the summer. He was to ride all of the endurance events including riding for Wales in the team pursuit.

Going into the championships, held on home ground for the Welsh team at Newport Velodrome, Josh knew he was in for a battle when the start sheet was published and it included some of the big names in British Cycling.

The first big target was the Points Race. Held over 120 laps the riders sprint for bonus points of 5, 3, 2 and 1 every 10 laps and get additional points if they manage to lap the field.

Josh took control of the race from the very beginning, breaking away with another rider at the end of the first lap and staying out front for 22 laps taking two bonus sprints before being reeled in.

The next 50 laps were run at a breathtaking pace with Josh scoring in most of the bonus sprints to maintain a lead.

At around half distance professional rider Harry Tanfield managed to sneak away and take a lap thereby placing him in the lead. However, such was the fast pace that he soon cracked and pulled out of the race placing Josh back into the lead. Into he final 30 laps Josh covered a dangerous move by Spanish based professional Jon Archibold with he two of them eventually lapping the field.

This lap gain resulted in Josh being crowned National Senior Points Race Champion, the first time a junior rider has ever won a senior track title.

To crown the weekend off in style Josh then rode with the Welsh Team Pursuit squad on the final day in a dress rehearsal for the Commonwealth Games. The team rode superbly qualifying fastest and found themselves up against a strong East Midlands team based at Derby Velodrome. The 4km contest was a tight affair with the Welsh team behind until the very last lap where a fine sprint for the line resulted in them taking the win and Josh his second title of the weekend.

Unfortunately, two days later while training near Tregaron Josh was involved in a crash resulting in a series of deep grazes down his back and side and a concussion.

However, well on the road to recovery he is now back training with a clear focus on Junior Paris-Roubaix, a race on Easter Sunday over the famous cobblestones of Northern France.

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