Michael Waite says changes to the course will will offer cyclists a bigger challenge

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By James Johnston

With the Hampshire’s Perf’s Pedal Race acting as the traditional curtain-raiser to the domestic road racing season, the race organiser says this year’s edition will prove far tougher than in the past.

Due to concerns regarding the management of the Hundred Acres circuit the race will now be altered to include five ascents of Portsdown Hill, one more than was ridden last year.

Race organiser, Michael Waite, believes this additional ascent will increase the test offered to the riders when they take to the course on February 14.

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“It’s definitely tougher, it will be tougher there’s no question about it because that is the harder course,” he told Cycling Weekly.

Upon completion of the fifth climb up Portsdown Hill the riders will then head to the new finish point at Hundred Acres Wood, but because of the amendments they will not get the opportunity to observe the finish beforehand, as has previously been the custom.

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“The unfortunate thing is they used to finish on what I call the main circuit but of course with so many people there at the finish it creates a parking issue so we don’t use that finish anymore,” Waite added.

“I’m a firm believer in letting riders go through the finish at least once so they can see it, but unfortunately they’ll only be able to have a look this year when their on their way to the HQ.

“But I know some of the teams have been out there for a look already.”

Last year’s race was won by Yanto Barker of the One Pro Cycling team, but with the team competing elsewhere after being granted a Pro Continental licence,  Waite expects other teams to step up to the plate.

“I would imagine that Pedal Heaven are going to be the main team, I know they want to win the race so they must be favourites but there’s a lot of other good riders in there,” he said.

“I think this year’s their best chance from previous years because we had One Pro Cycling last year and there were a few years of UK Youth [competing], but this year they’re the stand out team.

“They’ve got a good chance this year but there are another 70 plus riders in it that could have different ideas.”