Walls eyes World test after completing Tour challenge

MATT Walls has no time to rest on his laurels after a “pretty mad” OVO Energy Tour of Britain experience.

The 20-year-old Great Britain international from Shaw gained an impressive podium finish during eight gruelling days of competition.

Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com – 11/09/2019 – Cycling – OVO Energy Tour of Britain – Stage 5: Birkenhead Park to Birkenhead Park, England – Matt Walls of Great Britain Cycling Team.

Walls, who rides for Team GB could not reprise his stage five efforts on the final Greater Manchester leg.

But he was suitably satisfied by Tour efforts including racing in front of family and friends on September 14.

And he is now ready to target the Under-23’s road World Championship in Harrogate on September 27 and next month’s return to track action at the European Championships in Holland.

“It was a weird feeling knowing family and friends were watching me and competing on roads I train on day in, day out.

“And I saw them as I came up Grains Road in Delph. So, it was cool but also pretty mad.

“I was a little sore the day after because it was a solid eight days of racing and it was definitely hard on the last stage.”

Walls, dreaming of an Olympic Games debut in Tokyo next summer, had his best moment on stage five as the field headed into Birkenhead Park on the Wirral.

Dylan Groenewegen led home the field with Walls just a few wheel lengths behind.“We rode well as a team and coming away with second was pretty impressive considering the field,” he added about his stage second place.

“The boys did a great job of getting me in the right position so it was fantastic to come away with the result.

“Now, it is on to the Worlds. We have a good team and so I am looking forward to getting stuck in.”

Walls, who would become only the third Briton to win a medal since 1996 should be achieve another podium finish.

Overall, Mathieu van der Poel reiterated his billing as the hottest talent in professional cycling to be crowned Tour of Britain champion.

The 24-year-old Dutchman sealed his victory in style, sprinting to win the 166km final stage after a frantic day of racing around all 10 Greater Manchester boroughs.

Van der Poel outsprinted compatriot Cees Bol by a tyre width on Deansgate in Manchester city centre, with overall runner-up and Cetaphil Points classification winner Matteo Trentin placing third across the line.

Walls was 61st overall on the day, six minutes 30 seconds behind the flying Dutchman. The former Crompton House also finished the event 62nd, 28:09 minutes adrift of Van der Poel.

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