Barker and Hunt at front as Team UK display intent
TEAM UK Youth served notice that they could be one of the strongest squads on the UK domestic scene in 2013 when they dominated the season-opening Perfs Pedal Race in Hampshire.
UK Youth, backed by Exeter-based former Grand Prix champion Nigel Mansell, had the first six riders home, led by Bridgwater's Polish-born rider Marcin Bialoblocki.
Former Mid-Devon CC/Colin Lewis Cycles rider Ianto Barker was third, 2mins 20secs down on Bialoblocki.
Josh Hunt, the younger brother of just-retired senior pro Jeremy Hunt, won the bunch sprint for fourth place, three minutes behind the winner.
NEW TEAM Sky pro Jonathan Tiernan-Locke tackles one of his big early-season targets, Portugal's Tour of the Algarve, this week.
The four-day stage race starts today and finishes on Sunday.
Former Mid-Devon CC star Locke, who capped a stellar season with victory in the Tour of Britain in September, used last week's Challenge Mallorca race to fine-tune his training schedule.
The season-proper starts for him now, especially as he is being aimed at a couple of the major Spring Classics, including Holland's Amstel Gold Race and Belgium's Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
MORE THAN 180 riders are expected to report for the opening leg of Mid-Devon CC/Colin Lewis Cycles' traditional curtain-raiser, the Springtime Pursuit Series, on Saturday.
The first of three handicap events on successive Saturdays is often a platform for promising Junior riders who have been training hard during the winter.
The Mid-Devon club is blessed with half-a-dozen talented juniors, including Teignmouth brothers Joel and Will Kelly, Kye Martin and Tom Baylis.
There are three separate races, for Fourth Category riders (39miles), Ladies (26m) and Elite/1st/2nd/3rd Cats (39m).
Mid-Devon will have four men – Mark Dolan, Andrew Perkins, Jake Durant and Ian Cullen – in the 'Scratch' group of the senior race.
Last year's overall champion George Pym (Spin Rotor-Primal C-Originals) from Exeter has entered only the third and last leg.
But among the strongest men in this Saturday's race are likely to be veteran Bristol pro Ben Luckwell (Wilier), Exmouth's experienced Jules Birks, Oscar Hutchings (Exeter University), Adam Bright (Spin Rotor), Junior Heffernan (Herbalife) and Exeter-based Alexander Murison, fourth in last year's South-West regional road race championship.
HQ is at Clyst Vale Community College, Broadclyst.