Chris Opie has his sights set on a first national jersey.
The BIKE Channel Canyon sprinter will have a great opportunity to don the red, white and blue of the British champion in Sheffield on Wednesday night.
Opie will be among eight riders from Tim Elverson’s team competing in the National Circuit Championship in the Steel City (8pm).
And victory would represent a first for the former ONE Pro Cycling man, not to mention a major coup for the team in their debut season.
Opie, who finished an agonising second to Adam Blythe in Hull in 2014 and warmed up for the race with third in the Stockton Grand Prix on Sunday, said:
“I’ve never won a national jersey but it is an ambition. It would definitely be nice to win one and it would be brilliant for the team, especially in the Tour Series next year.
“That is what everyone wants it for because you only get something like 20 opportunities in the UK to wear the jersey in good, televised races. It is a big deal.
“And if I won it, I would definitely set up a little circuit at home and only train in circles! I’d just do laps, so I could wear the jersey whenever I wanted!”
In 2014, Opie and Blythe broke clear of the peloton to contest the finale. The Cornishman, representing Rapha Condor JLT, led his NFTO rival in the latter stages.
But when they opened up their sprint, 2016 British road race champion Blythe had just enough strength to come around and take the title. Opie added:
“That was a pity. I think I could have been in a higher gear that day and had a better sprint but it was close enough!
“I believe this year’s will be raced on the Sheffield Grand Prix circuit. I have only ridden that in 2014 but it is a good circuit, from what I remember back then.”
Chris Lawless won the Sheffield Grand Prix last season before clinching the national crown the following week in Birmingham.
Harry Tanfield was runner-up to Lawless in the former and the Great Ayton talent, who has been in fine form in the National Circuit Series, will roll out alongside Opie on Wednesday night.
Sam Lowe, who won the under-16 crown in 2009, Dexter Gardias, Jack Pullar and Jake Womersley are also expected on the grid.
George Atkins, who was third as Ian Bibby took the title in 2015 and won the 2013 National Circuit Series, is set to race.
And the BIKE Channel Canyon involvement is completed by Matt Nowell, who graduated from Sheffield Hallam University last month.
The National Circuit Championships, including the women’s race due off at 6.30pm, will be streamed live on the British Cycling website. Click here to tune in.