Preston cyclist James is heading for hills

James Noonan
James Noonan

A Lancashire cyclist is gearing up for the first major national junior tour of the year.

James Noonan, 17, from Preston, will be representing the city and local club Hoppers Rollers at this weekend’s two-day Tour of the Mendips.

The event is one of the biggest races on the junior cycling calendar with the best cyclists aged 16 to 18 from across the United Kingdom competing against one another.

Set in the Mendip hills, south of Bristol near the Somerset border, the race includes two hilly stages and an opening time-trial.

A short 2.5-mile prologue time trial will be held on Saturday on flat roads around a lake at Chew Valley to provide the earlier time splits.

It will be followed by a road stage with one significant climb and then 7 laps of a route on the top of the Mendip Hills with rolling roads over 66 miles.

The event culminates with a tough 50-mile road race on Sunday. It features three major climbs and promises to be a hill climbing specialists day.

Noonan goes into the event with high hopes. He rides for Preston’s most successful amateur cycle racing team .

The Hoppers Rollers are supported with a sponsorship by a number of local Preston businesses such as Harrison Drury Solicitors, Haleys Business Advisors, Bailey Financial Services and Approved Inspectors.

Noonan attended Our Lady’s Catholic High School in Preston, which also counts pro-cyclists, Commonwealth Games rider Ian Bibby and world tour professional Hugh Carthy as past pupils.

He said: “I’m excited about the challenge ahead and am grateful for the help from the club’s sponsors to race such events.

“I’ll be up against the best young riders in the country and hope to place well on the hilly days.

“It will be tough but I want to test myself against the best and this is one of the races to do that.”