Jake Womersley believes a double dose of Spanish sun will help him shine in his first race of the season.
The 21-year-old, from Mirfield, enjoyed a December stint in Calpe before jetting off for eight days in Mallorca last month.
Alongside a more settled approach to winter training with his BIKE Channel Canyon sports director Tim Elverson, the chances to escape the harsh English weather have paid dividends.
And now Womersley is looking forward to testing his legs in the 95km Clayton Spring Classic in Clitheroe on Sunday (10am). He said:
“I can’t wait to get racing again. I have been looking forward to it for the past month or so. I just want to get racing and see how I’m going.
“I feel a lot better than I did at this time last year, so that is always a positive. Being able to go away before Christmas really helped.
“It is the first year I have done that. Usually I leave it until January or February but this year I went away twice, which makes it much easier to get good quality training in.
“I am a lot more confident with Tim setting the training, too. He didn’t start coaching me until this time last year, whereas now I have done a full winter on top of last season.
“We have Clayton this weekend and then the following week we have races on Saturday and Sunday. I am really excited to get started.”
While BIKE Channel Canyon are not sending a full squad to Lancashire on Sunday, Womersley will be joined by Northwich’s Matt Nowell.
The Clayton Spring Classic is a handicap race, with elite and first category riders setting off four minutes behind juniors and second/third category hopefuls and eight minutes adrift of the women and veterans. Womersley added:
“I am quite confident going into it and I know Matt is as well but it is hard to say what the outcome is going to be because of the nature of the race.
“It is quite a good field. I don’t think the groups in front of us are as strong as they were last year but our group is definitely stronger.
“Rich Handley of Madison Genesis is probably the favourite, while the 100% ME team have five in there.
“They should be going quite well because they have just finished Challenge Mallorca. They are all under-23s like me, so it will be nice to test myself against them.”