Youngster rides to big Euro victory

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Youngster George Cooper is celebrating a remarkable European cycling triumph.

Nine-year-old George won his age-group in the European Youth Tour of Assen — after claiming three victories and three second places in the six-stage race — and all three available jerseys.

The Bolsover rider was the star of the show in category two, for boys born in 2008 and girls born in 2007, often controlling races from the front in strong winds — even unfamiliar time trials.

He won the general classification yellow jersey by 20 seconds, the green jersey sprint classification with a maximum 30 points and dropped just two points in the white jersey special classification to win that as well.

The youngster, who rides for Bolsover and District Cycling Club and Sherwood Pines Cycles, competed alongside 800 other young cyclists from 22 countries.

George already held three national titles — British School Cycling Association National Under-9 MTB champion, HSBC UK National MTB XC Under-10 champion and British Cycling National Youth Circuit Under-10 champion — but his father, Tim, said taking all three available jerseys in a European event was the proudest moment.

“George’s results in Assen are beyond our wildest dreams,” Tim said. “He set himself a target of winning one jersey and improving on his fifth place overall last year, but he smashed that.”

The Bolsover District Junior Sportsman of the Year’s favourite stage in Assen was a road race across the city, led by motorcycle outriders.

The stage, arguably the highlight of the tour, saw George defend his yellow jersey in the best way possible, attacking from the flag drop and going on a solo breakaway to win by 13 seconds.

‘’I am overjoyed with winning the white, green and yellow jersey,” George said.

“Assen really put me to the test, particularly with the wind in the time trials.

“I couldn’t have done it without my mum and dad, coaches Dean and Steve, and Dave Martin’s advice.”

George’s cycling ambitions are to become a professional mountain biker and emulate the success of Nino Schurter in World Cups and the Olympic Games.

The Bolsover Church of England School pupil will be taking part in a special event at Sherwood Pines Cycles on 23rd August, to mark the Tour of Britain coming to the area in September.

There will be displays and demonstrations, the chance to win a team car experience on the tour and much more.