Rory Townsend could return to Portsmouth to defend his Perfs Pedal crown with Britain’s newest professional cycling team – BIKE Channel Canyon.
The 21-year-old was this week unveiled among the 15-man squad for the UCI Continental outfit, led by his former Pedal Heaven sports director Tim Elverson.
And with Elverson a long-time supporter of the Perfs Pedal, widely-regarded as the curtain-raiser for the domestic road season, a return on Sunday, February 12 may be on the cards.
Townsend will line up alongside 2012 Perfs Pedal winner Chris Opie for the new team.
And the links with Portsmouth’s premier road race do not end there.
Yanto Barker, who took the 2015 title ahead of Opie, will kit the squad out through his clothing company, Le Col.
And Elverson, who celebrated his first success in the Perfs Pedal with Townsend, is excited about the unique opportunity after Pedal Heaven wound up their professional team in October.
He said: ‘This is an exciting, long-term project that will allow me to develop and progress the squad across the coming seasons.
‘I’ve got some key experience in there but it is a squad of 15 with an average age of just 24, so it is still a young, progressive team.
The vibe and energy coming from the riders already is great and we just can’t wait to go racingTim Elverson
‘The vibe and energy coming from the riders already is great and we just can’t wait to go racing.’
Townsend and Opie are joined by former JLT Condor rider George Atkins and NFTO duo Rob Partridge and James Lowsley-Williams.
Sam Lowe has signed from Team Wiggins, while Matt Nowell will step up after racing for Wheelbase last season.
Mitchell Webber, Dexter Gardias, Joe Fry, Jack Pullar, Max Stedman, Jake Womersley, Harry Tanfield and Alex Richardson have moved across from the Pedal Heaven ranks with Townsend.