JOSH Sandman sent another message to the cycling world after playing a major role in the latest national series round which finished in Grosmont.

The Monmouthshire Junior Grand Prix saw riders travel from across the UK to compete over 75 miles around the Welsh border including a finishing loop around the Herefordshire village.

Sandman, 17, from Ross-on-Wye, who finished second at the national circuit race championships last year, was part of a race-long attack which formed only three miles into the race.

Their gap grew to over four minutes over the chasers as they worked together to increase their advantage.

Sandman, riding for Herefordshire CC, looked destined for a third place podium finish only to be caught and passed by two chasers 200 metres from the finish in Grosmont, eventually finishing in fifth just 58 seconds behind Scottish champion winner Joe Nally.

Intermediate sprints which were held each time through a packed Grosmont saw Sandman take second overall.

"For the whole race we just had to keep pushing and pushing as the gap opened," said Sandman.

"In the final two laps two riders chased us and they just kept getting closer and closer so we pushed a little bit harder to open up the gap some more. On the last lap there was only three of us left from the original breakaway as a couple of guys had dropped off the back. One of the guys attacked on the descent down to Grosmont and another chased after him. "Then with 200 metres to go the two chasers caught me on the charge up the final hill unfortunately.

"It was still my best performance in the national series as a first year junior. The last few races I have been learning how to compete with the best guys in the country but I think I've got the hang of it now.

"It was brilliant to race on those road which I train on. When I first started racing I used to ride on that route a lot of the time so I already knew the descents and how fast I could take the corners."

Sandman started his love for the sport while mountain biking with his mother as a child before being brought a road bike.

Last year he finished second in the under-16 National Circuit Race Championships and has been making a big impact in his first year road racing in the junior category this season.

Riding in the colours of Hereford based team Ely Race Club Sandman also won the road race stage of the Stratford Junior 2-Day stage race.

As a result of his performances the youngster has been selected as a guest rider for the Backstedt/Hotchillie Cycling team to race in the Junior Tour of Austria next month.

He added: "I'm coached by Magnus Bäckstedt who is a former professional cyclist who has won Paris–Roubaix and a stage of the Tour De France.

"Hopefully I have secured a place on their team for next year as at the moment I am just guesting for them. After that I will be under-23 so hopefully sign for a UCI Professional Team who can give me the best opportunities to further my career.

"My goal is to ride in the leaders yellow jersey and win the Tour de France."