Mick Waite has been buoyed by the biggest-ever entry for the Perfs Pedal.
The 51st renewal of the Portsmouth road race, which will take place on Sunday, February 14, had attracted more than 100 riders before last weekend’s closing date.
With a maximum field size of 80, Waite has since had to reject a number of those hopefuls, which has proved an agonising task.
But the organiser – and sponsor of host club VC St Raphael – believes it bodes well for another successful event.
‘This is the most entries we have ever had,’ said Waite.
‘It is obviously very disappointing to have to send some back. It is just so difficult.
‘We have some reserves this year, where in the past we haven’t, but it is difficult for them as well because they might not get a ride.
‘However, the full field does mean we are slightly ahead of ourselves.
‘In past years I have left the entry open for a few days to allow a few more riders to come in.
‘But this season – with people realising how heavily subscribed it is going to be – I have not needed to do that.
‘It has worked out better from our point of view.
‘It means we can get things sorted out and get the officials organised earlier.
‘All we are hoping for now is some good weather!’
But with their elevation to UCI Pro Continental status, it opens the door for a new winner of the event – with the Pedal Heaven team likely to start as favourites.
The full rider list has yet to be released.
Contenders know they will face five ascents of Portsdown Hill – one more than 12 months ago – before heading out to the finale of the 46-mile contest at Hundred Acres Wood.