Opie eyes Perfs quadruple

Chris Opie during the Perfs Pedal in 2015. Picture: Allan Hutchings (150213-679)
Chris Opie during the Perfs Pedal in 2015. Picture: Allan Hutchings (150213-679)
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)

Fareham Wheelers dream of national service

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Chris Opie is hoping to toast a fourth Perfs Pedal win on Sunday, February 12.

The 29-year-old claimed glory on Portsdown Hill in 2012 before helping team-mates to victory in 2013 and 2015.

Yanto Barker wins from Chris Opie in 2015. Picture: Larry Hickmott/VeloUK.net

Yanto Barker wins from Chris Opie in 2015. Picture: Larry Hickmott/VeloUK.net

Now he is set to return to the Portsmouth event, the curtain-raiser for the domestic road racing season, with Britain’s newest professional outfit BIKE Channel Canyon.

It will be the UCI Continental squad’s debut race and Opie is keen to begin in style.

He said: ‘Perfs is a really fun race on a really good circuit. It is a fantastic place to start the season and I can’t wait.

‘I’ve raced there four times. The first was in in 2009 when it was on a different circuit and horses got on the road.

‘I punctured on the final descent, started to chase back on only to find horses everywhere and that was it!

‘But I’ve been part of a winning team on three out of four occasions.

‘I won in 2012 and I remember that pretty well because my son was born the next day!

‘I remember giving my phone to the sports director at the time and saying if it rings, tell her I’ll be on my way as soon as I can.

‘In reality I would have left straight away otherwise I would have been in big trouble!

‘That was the first time I’d had an entire team ride for me and it couldn’t have gone more smoothly.’

Opie was racing alongside 2004 Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt and Marcin Bialoblocki for Team UK Youth in 2012.

And he returned with Nigel Mansell’s outfit the following season, helping Bialoblocki to glory as the team filled the first six places.

Opie said: ‘That was when Marcin introduced us all to clingfilm and Vaseline to keep warm. That was a learning day!

‘Clingfilm on your arms and legs, possibly on your chest as well, with Vaseline under that and on any other exposed areas like the back of your hands.

‘That was the worst weather any of us had ever raced in.’

Opie’s most recent appearance in the event, which is based at Southwick and now finishes on Hundred Acres Road near Wickham, came in 2015.

On that occasion he was second behind team-mate Yanto Barker as Matt Prior’s ONE Pro Cycling made their competitive debut.

He added: ‘That year was just good fun. I just enjoy racing my bike with Yanto, to be honest, so the fact we were both away at the end made it very enjoyable.

‘It was like messing around at your friend’s house. That’s how I would describe that day, just great fun.’

Now he lines up with reigning champion Rory Townsend, last year’s runner-up Mitchell Webber, 2013 second Rob Partridge, James Lowsley-Williams and Alex Richardson for BIKE Channel Canyon.

Click here for the full start list.