CYCLING: Pete Vincent delighted to join professional ranks
Pete Vincent has become the seventh member of the Mid-Devon CC/Colin Lewis Cycles club to sign up as a professional rider for next season.
Vincent has joined the Milton Keynes-based Twenty3c.co.uk-Focus squad after a long but determined battle to break into the elite ranks of UK cycle racing.
The former North Devon Wheelers time-trialist has made big strides over the last three years as a road racer in the colours of the Mid-Devon club, which has its HQ at Kingsteignton near Newton Abbot.
It looked as if his chances of securing a pro contract were fading, as most teams have been scouting younger riders or had used up their budgets.
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But 24-year-old Vincent, who lives in Braunton, revealed: "I'd arranged to go out to California for a month's decent training weather before Christmas, and I got a call from Twenty3c the day before I left, so that was a real lift.
"It's so hard to get into pro teams now – they've got riders from all over the world wanting to come and ride in the UK, and that makes it even tougher. I'm delighted to have the chance to try and make the next step up and do the bigger races.
"There's only so far you can go with time-trialing, so I made the decision to concentrate on the road and I've really enjoyed it. It's completely different – you can't just go flat out for ten or 25 miles. You've got to use your head and be really good with tactics. My aim next season will be to be competitive, get some good, consistent results in the best races and see where that takes me."
To have seven riders in pro teams is a remarkable achievement for any club.
"I cannot believe that there's another club in the country, especially away from the big cities, which has produced that many pros at one time," said Mid-Devon chairman Andrew Perkins. "If Jeremy Hunt, who has just retired, was still riding, we'd have eight."
In 2013 the roster of pros who have graduated from the Mid-Devon club will include last season's Tour of Britain winner Jon Tiernan-Locke (Team Sky Procycling), Ianto Barker and Josh Hunt (Team UK Youth), Brennan Townshend and Seb Baylis (Madison-Genesis), Rob Smail (Metaltek) and Vincent (Twenty3c.co.uk-Focus).