Winston impressed by ONE teamwork

Chris Opie is first over the top of Portsdown Hill on the second lap of the Perfs Pedal. Picture: Rob Atkins
Chris Opie is first over the top of Portsdown Hill on the second lap of the Perfs Pedal. Picture: Rob Atkins
Mike Williams on his way to second place in the veteran 50 race last month. Picture: Neil Marshall (171322-123)

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Matt Winston admitted his surprise at the difficulty of the Perfs Pedal course.

But the ONE Pro Cycling directeur sportif praised his riders for the aggressive debut performance they delivered.

The team boasted the first four riders home on a memorable maiden outing.

Yanto Barker took glory from Chris Opie, with Marcin Bialoblocki third and George Harper in fourth spot.

George Atkins (ninth) and Sam Williams (11th) were not too far adrift, either, as the team launched their first season in style.

Winston said: ‘I was really happy.

‘It was a tough course – tougher than I imagined it was going to be, actually.

‘We didn’t have a good look at it beforehand but we had two past winners in the team, so we used their experience.

‘The roads are grippy around here, which makes this a good, strong race.

‘It wasn’t just about the result, though.

‘We needed to go through the right processes, work as a team and get those foundations right for the season coming up.

‘I said to the lads if we got those foundations right, hopefully the result will come off the back of that.

‘And that’s what happened, so I’m really pleased.’

Winston’s riders were attentive throughout before turning the screw on their rivals in the second half of the race.

‘We just looked to put people in moves in the first half of the race, make sure we covered well and didn’t miss a beat,’ added the former British Cycling coach.

‘Then we started to look to put men up the road.

‘Then we would come across, work again and look to break it down in that respect.

‘The lads did it really well.’

Winston, who is in his first role as a full-time directeur sportif, was delighted with the way his team finished off the race.

They boasted four of the front six riders going into the latter stages of the 72km battle.

And then showed their quality to shut out the first four positions at the line.

Winston added: ‘There was a group of eight riders on Portsdown and then Marcin and Yanto looked to stretch their legs a bit.

‘They took a rider from Pedal Heaven away and the other rider from Neon, I think it was.

‘Chris and George were then in the second group biding their time a little bit.

‘They hit Mike Thompson from Team Wiggins and the lad from Pedal Heaven hard on the descent and rode across.

‘That basically gave up six up the front, with four from ONE Pro Cycling.

‘And then coming into the last lap, Chris squeezed on the clamp through the finish to get a bit of a gap.

‘Yanto jumped across to him and they got away, so Marcin ended up on his own and George polished it off at the back.

‘It was a great finish.’

Click here for a gallery of pictures from the 50th Perfs Pedal.