Jack Pullar warmed up for the opening skirmishes of the HSBC UK Spring Cup and insisted BIKE Channel Canyon are not a one-man team.
The 27-year-old, from Bolton-le-Sands, will line up with Chris Opie, Dexter Gardias, Sam Lowe, James Lowsley-Williams, Rob Partridge, Max Stedman and Harry Tanfield for the Klondike Grand Prix in Guisborough on Sunday (midday).
He acknowledges both rivals and fans will be drawn to the signing of Opie. And rightly so, with the Cornishman boasting wins at a higher level.
However, Pullar reckons BIKE Channel Canyon have plenty of options when it comes to the heat of battle. And the former Madison Genesis man believes the squad Tim Elverson has built is as strong as he ever ever raced with. Pullar said:
“I’m really excited about Sunday. It is a new course, so it’s going to be an interesting race.
“I don’t think it will necessarily come down to who is the strongest rider but maybe who is clever about it.
“At Pedal Heaven last year, we were underdogs going into these races. But we definitely have more strength in depth this season and then you have someone like Opie, who is a Pro Conti race winner.
“We have definitely got the manpower there and with the mix of riders we have, we’ve got lots of options, too. That is really good.
“I’d say this is as strong a line-up I have ridden with. We obviously had a strong team at Madison, with (Andy) Tennant, Dean Downing, (Ian) Bibby and that, they were big names.
“But I think across the board, when it comes to strength in depth, this team is better. It is a very good squad.”
Pullar was part of the BIKE Channel Canyon squad who travelled to Holland for the Ronde van Drenthe and Dorpenomloop Rucphen earlier this month.
Unfortunately, he crashed heavily in the final 2km of the latter as he attempted to lead Opie out for the finish.
He has not missed a day of training since, though, and now the road rash has healed and the bruising has gone, he is raring to go. Pullar added:
“We had 2km to the finish when a guy from Lotto pulled out straight across my wheel. I didn’t really have a chance.
“Luckily, I went down on my right-hand side and Chris was on my left. If he had been on the other side I would have taken him with me.
“It was an expensive day. I wrote off my helmet, skinsuit, frame, two wheels, my bars, saddle, rear mech and two shifters. I had a couple of bottle cages and my cranks left!
“It was a big one. I looked back on my Strava and I was doing 55.8kph at the time. It sounds weird but those crashes are usually better than the slower ones.
“I had no time to put my arms out, so didn’t break a collarbone or a wrist. I went down so fast, my shoulder, hip and knee took a big impact but it was just bruising, so I’m happy.”
You can follow live updates from the Klondike Grand Prix on the British Cycling website or on Twitter, with reports, reaction and pictures across all our social media platforms and here at bikechannelcanyon.co.uk