The Giro d’Italia’s arrival in Northern Ireland may seem like a distant memory for most of us but for Jack Wilson the thrills and spills of cycling are a way of life, writes JOHN GILLESPIE.
Alongside the likes of Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Marcel Kittel, the Jordanstown native has just completed the Tour of Britain. Wearing the colours of An Post-Chain Reaction, he registered 103rd in the general classification and gained invaluable experience along the eight-stage route.
Despite a crash in which he injured his ribs, shoulder and back with around 20km to go in stage two, the 21-year-old prospect climbed back on the bike to cross the line.
He then went on to cover the hundreds of miles to the finish line in London on Sunday.
His next major outing comes later this month (September 26) when he’s set to compete at the Under-23 World Championships in Spain.
Wilson began racing with East Antrim Cycling Club and is a former national junior champion. As a teenager he signed for Belgium-based UCS Crabbe Performance VOO before making the switch to An Post.
It looks like he has a bright future ahead of him, but, at such a young age, he has already achieved so much.
In 2009 he won the Irish Under-16 Road Race Championships before claiming victory in the Irish Junior Road Race Championships the following year.
He finished inside the top 30 at the Junior World Championships in Copenhagen in 2011. In 2012 he was third at the Irish Under-23 Road Race Championships.
He’s the first Irish rider to finish in the top 25 in the U23 Tour of Flanders and has also won the U23 Irish National title.
This season’s highlight came in the Kreiz Breizh Elites event in France when he claimed three top-10 stage finishes and fourth overall.
His dad, Gary, said the Wilson family are very proud of his achievements. “People think cycling brings a glamorous lifestyle but it’s a hard existence. Jack’s whole life is cycling,” he said.
“He is a really resilient wee boy and he’s a tough cookie to endure all that punishment on the bike.”