Dwars door Vlaanderen saw the re-birth of Nick Nuyens (Belgium & Saxo Bank) as winner; for those who know their Spring Classics it branded him as a potential Ronde winner – and so it proved. But it was also further confirmation that the first big win for Geraint Thomas (Sky & GB) is not far away as the Welshman took second behind the wily Belgian in Dwars Door. However, on the same day on similar roads, the Under 23 version of the race, the ‘GP Waregem’ saw another young Briton take an important step up the ladder with an excellent win over the cream of Flanders’ young cycling talent. Since that win, Dan McLay has gone from strength to strength with a second place in Meer-Hoogstraten and back to back wins in Zele and Niel.
McLay was a British champion before his 14th birthday – winning the Omnium in 2006.
The following year he was winning under 16 races in Belgium and Holland; picking up more medals on the track and was winning cyclo-crosses to boot.
In 2008 the trend continued; road wins, track wins, including the British junior scratch champs – and a medal in the British junior cyclo-cross champs.
The following year followed a similar pattern with perhaps the hi-lite being bronze in the European madison championship with Sam Harrison.
But it was last year that the really serious results came – world junior madison champion with Simon Yates and second in the junior Paris-Roubaix.
For 2011 McLay has struck out along the same path as countryman Adam Blythe, joining Lotto feeder team, Davo.