Alex Richardson has vowed to prove his worth among cycling’s elite.
BIKE Channel Canyon’s first-year professional is determined to repay the faith shown in him by sports director Tim Elverson.
And Portsmouth’s 74km Perfs Pedal on Sunday, February 12 will be the first stop on that journey.
Richardson, 26, said: ‘It is very exciting. It is my first race and, although there are bigger goals down the line, I want to feel strong at Perfs.
‘I don’t want to feel like I am being tested unless that is part of us as a team pushing on.
‘I don’t want to feel threatened by anyone else outside the team. Obviously we are a team but I don’t want to feel like a passenger.
‘I would argue those two hours are less suited to me, so I am not putting pressure on myself to get a fantatic result. That would be the wrong approach in my first race.
‘I am there to see how I’m feeling, help where I can and hopefully do some damage for the team. I have a very relaxed approach.’
Just 20 months after buying his first bike, Richardson will line up alongside Chris Opie, Rob Partridge, James Lowsley-Williams, Rory Townsend and Mitchell Webber for his first outing in the paid ranks.
He admits to pinching himself when he looks at the company he presently keeps but refuses to rest on his laurels.
I don’t want to feel threatened by anyone else outside the team... I don’t want to feel like a passenger.Alex Richardson
Richardson, who gave up his job in the city to pursue a cycling career, said: ‘As a fourth cat sitting at work, I remember looking at ONE Pro and thinking this Chris Opie guy must be living the life.
‘And lo and behold, 16 months later I am actually riding on the same team. That is a funny thought.
‘I was like any other guy, day dreaming, thinking that looks a cool life. That was literally after I had just picked up a bike.
‘And now here I am. It’s incredible. But there is still a long way to go. I am very far from satisfied with what I have done so far. I want a lot more.
‘I want to repay the faith Tim has shown in me. Without him, there is no way I would have been brought through as I have.
‘He has helped so much, not just physically but psychologically. When someone believes in you it’s massive.’
Elverson handed Richardson a chance with his Pedal Heaven Excel Academy last season before signing him at BIKE Channel Canyon for 2017.