Rory Townsend cannot wait for the flag to drop at the Perfs Pedal as BIKE Channel Canyon prepare to announce themselves on the domestic racing scene.
The defending champion will line up alongside Chris Opie, Rob Partridge, James Lowsley-Williams, Mitchell Webber and Alex Richardson for the UCI Continental outfit’s debut on Sunday.
And after revealing his condition is three months ahead of last season’s triumphant display, the 21-year-old from Addlestone is going to be a hard man to beat in the 74km Portsmouth battle.
Townsend, who is now concentrating on his racing full-time having taken a year out from his studies at St Mary’s University, said:
“Perfs is the curtain-raiser. It is full bore. I really like it because there is no time wasted.
“Everybody who is riding is just really excited to finally be racing together as a squad and Perfs provides the perfect platform for us to really announce ourselves.
“The coaching I have had from Grinta has been pretty intense and I am about three months ahead of the same stage last year, according to the power files and things like that.
“So I am turning up and I am thinking I can’t wait for that flag to drop. I am confident in myself, which will come as no shock to most of my team-mates!”
Townsend shrugged off a late puncture before producing a successful solo bid for glory in last year’s Perfs Pedal in the colours of Pedal Heaven.
He went on to clinch the points jersey in the Tour Series, the Bristol Grand Prix crown, finish third in the Leicester Castle Classic and claim numerous other national B titles in a stellar campaign for Pedal Heaven.
And while he admits his ambitions have changed this season, he is determined to give Perfs the respect it deserves. Townsend added:
“I was proud of how it went last season. It didn’t go smoothly in any way. I punctured at the base of the final climb and left myself a lot to do. So the win came as a bit of a surprise.
“It will be different this year, only because the goalposts have moved. I am keen to make a statement at a higher level.
“That is no disrespect to Perfs. It is a national B but that doesn’t tell the story. It is a massive race. The history and prestige behind it cannot be underestimated.
“But it is going to be a long season for me. I have no intentions of cutting it short.”