Tim Elverson has lifted the lid on his Perfs Pedal team selection after fine-tuning his race plan.
And while victory of any sort remains the overriding goal for Pedal Heaven’s directeur sportif, he has admitted there would be no more popular champion than Mitch Webber.
If I was to pick a winner, I’d like it to be Mitch because he is localTim Elverson
He finished eighth last season and is one of three riders in the newly-promoted UCI Continental team who have raced for Pedal Heaven before – with Rory Townsend (fifth in 2015) and Alex Paton completing the trio.
They are joined in the Hampshire outfit’s line-up by three new recruits in Grant Ferguson, Lloyd Chapman and teenager Joe Fry.
Elverson, who knows the Perfs Pedal well from his own racing career, said: ‘I was very clear I wanted to pick three guys who have raced for us before to show, while we have moved up, we are still the same side.
‘And then I wanted three new guys to come in and race as early as possible, to get those first-race jitters out of the way.
‘Rory and Mitch both did well last year. Rory is in good form at the moment, while Mitch has had a knee injury.
‘But he seems to have massively got over it now and if I was to pick a winner, I’d like it to be Mitch because he is local.
‘He comes from Andover, he has always raced with people from VC St Raphael and he knows all the people who help out, so I think he would be a popular winner.
‘It would be nice for him to have a good race but the first thing we have to do is get a Pedal Heaven win.’
Elverson is not underestimating his rivals. And his three new recruits underline that desire to show the utmost respect to the race.
Fry, 19, will make his senior debut on Sunday but has underlined his talent with 10th place in the junior Paris Roubaix last season and Great Britain caps on the track.
Lloyd Chapman, 26, turned professional when signing for Pedal Heaven in December.
He switched from Richardsons Trek RT following fifth place in the British Time Trial Championships, which was won by former Perfs champion Alex Dowsett.
The line-up is completed by 22-year-old Grant Ferguson – a Great Britain mountain-biking star who is aiming to race in that discipline at the Rio Olympics later this year.
‘When you look down the start sheet there are plenty of guys who are all very capable if they are in the right place at the right time,’ added Elverson.
‘But hopefully our guys will be able to shine because that is what they have got to do. They are at that next level now.’
Click here for more on Elverson, his team and the Perfs Pedal.