Countdown to Perfs Pedal is on
Entries for the 2017 Perfs Pedal close on Sunday, January 22.
And this year’s instalment, which will take place on Sunday, February 12, promises to be packed with talent again.
Britain newest UCI Continental outfit BIKE Channel Canyon are expected to send a powerful six-man squad to the 74km Portsmouth battle, which is widely-regarded as the curtain-raiser for the road campaign.
Led by former Pedal Heaven sports director Tim Elverson, they have signed Rory Townsend and Mitchell Webber, who were first and second last season.
Meanwhile, team-mate Alex Richardson could make his first appearance as a professional cyclist – less than 18 months after taking up the sport.
The 26-year-old former city broker only lined up for his first competitive race on August 8, 2015.
In the whirlwind 12 months that followed, hard miles on and off the bike saw him power from a cat 4 licence to elite level and earn a place on the exciting new team for 2017.
Elverson has previously favoured a southern-based squad for the event – which climbs Portsdown Hill five times and finishes on Hundred Acres Road, Wickham – and that would put Surrey’s Richardson firmly in the frame.
The final start list will be revealed after the closing date.
However, the usual raft of local riders are expected to take on the challenge of the professionals again, with i-Team’s Joe Clark among those who are keen.
Last season Clanfield’s Harry Veale was 27th, while Portsmouth North End’s Tom Morris – who was 18th in 2015 – was 51st.
James Champken and Ashley Hutchison, riding for host club VC St Raphael, finished 32nd and 41st respectively.