Barker relishing role ahead of Tour de Yorkshire

ONE Pro Cycling's Yanto Barker, right, crests Portsdown Hill in the Perfs Pedal. Picture: Rob Atkins
ONE Pro Cycling's Yanto Barker, right, crests Portsdown Hill in the Perfs Pedal. Picture: Rob Atkins
Abbie Manley leads her Hargroves Ridley Montezuma's team-mate Amy Perryman through a corner at the Swanmore Motocross Track. Picture: Neil Marshall (171339-131)

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Yanto Barker is relishing his role a ONE Pro Cycling road captain as he prepares to lead the team into battle at the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire.

The Europe Tour event was inspired by the success of the Tour de France’s visit to England last summer.

It has attracted World Tour outfits such as Team Sky, BMC and Giant and comprises of three stages – the first of which is this afternoon.

And Barker, who won the Perfs Pedal in February, heads the ONE Pro Cycling charge.

Perfs Pedal runner-up Chris Opie is also in the eight-man team, along with Marcin Bialoblocki, Dexter Gardias, George Harper, Marc Hester, Joshua Hunt and Peter Williams.

ONE Pro Cycling, who were co-founded by England cricket Matt Prior at the tail end of last year, are in their debut campaign.

Barker signed up as a key man in their formation.

His tactical nous will be tested over the next three days but he is relishing his responsibility as road captain.

‘I love it,’ said Barker.

‘For me, I train really hard to be taking part in the front of the race.

‘And then to have a front-line view of the decision-making process when we are designing our strategy.

‘Who should attack next, what gaps should we be trying to force or not and that kind of thing.

‘I absolutely love it.

‘So I am happy to be here and be fit enough to take part in the front of the race.’

Today’s opening battle at the Tour de Yorkshire is a 174km dash from Bridlington to Scarborough.

Tomorrow another sprint finish is expected after racing from Selby to York and then on Sunday the queen stage includes six categorised climbs before the finish in Leeds.