And so it begins. Traditionally regarded as the season opener in Britain, the Perfs Pedal race on Sunday will once again act as the curtain-raiser for what looks set to be an action-packed domestic calendar.

A relatively short race at 70 kilometres (43 miles), it may well suit those who have winter circuit race experience, fresh (or not, as the case may be) in their legs.

Last year?s winner James Stewart, now in Kinesis colours, will face some stiff opposition from the likes of David Clarke (Pendragon), Warrick Spence (Cyclefit RT), Marcin Bialoblocki (Sports-Beans Willier) and Alex Higham (Wyndymilla).

Sigma Sport’s Jerone Walters and team-mate Steve Golla have both been riding well at the Imperial Winter Series at Hillingdon and should make an impact on Sunday.

?It?s a very open field,? said Waite. ?But it?s very different to circuit racing. People come out of the winter completely different riders. With the credit crunch, many of the riders may have lost their jobs and would have the time for a lot more training. It?s very difficult to place a winner this year?.

One rider certainly causing a stir is Flavio Zappi (Oxford University CC), a former Italian professional, who has made a return to competitive cycling after a lay-off of more than 20 years.

?It?s my first proper road race,? said the Italian. ?I?ve got so much energy to race. I?m feeling fit and riding at Hog Hill [over the winter] should give me some good form.

?Circuit racing is totally different [though]. I?m not feeling nervous, I?m looking forward to it. We?ve got a young team who?ve done a lot of work over the winter. I?m hoping for a hard race and am interested to see how far I can go with my performance after 25 years.

?It?s not been easy at all because I?ve been out of it for so long, and until recently I was just a normal person doing a 9-5.?

Waite was keen to stress that racing at Hog Hill is a completely different environment to the hell for leather of road racing. ?Everyone wants to win it and it?s a very tough race. It?ll be more of a gauge for Zappi than circuit racing?.

Perfs Pedal Race, Sunday February 8. Rowlands Castle, Hampshire. Circuit distance: 10km. Total distance: 70km.

Click here to access the full 2009 domestic race calendar

START LIST:

1. James STEWART Kinesis KUK

2. Rob FLETCHER Anders Electronic/TMG Horizon

3. Martin SMITH Army Cycling Union

4. Sam ALLEN awcycles.co.uk

5. Simon ERNEST awcycles.co.uk

6. Tom SMITH awcycles.co.uk

7. John WHITTINGTON Bristol Cycling Development Group

8. Grant GRANT BC Private Member

9. Ben ANSTIE Chippenham & District Wheelers CC

10. Stephen ONGLEY Chippenham & District Wheelers CC

11. Simon SNOWDEN Chippenham & District Wheelers CC

12. Alistair CARR COC Fougeres

13. Perry BOWATER CC Giro

14. Warrick SPENCE Cyclefit RT

15. Julian BRAY Dulwich Paragon

16. Philip JONES Dulwich Paragon

17. Kevin KNOX Dulwich Paragon

18. Matthew ULLMER Evesham & District Wheelers CC

19. Warren JESSE Felt Racing

20. John WAGER Felt Racing


21. Andrew BRIGGS Fit-For/Cycles Dauphin

22. John HEATON-ARMSTRONG Fit-For/Cycles Dauphin

23. Michael KINGAN Fit-For/Cycles Dauphin

24. Richard MASON Fit-For/Cycles Dauphin

25. Alex MURISON Glendene CC/biketrax

26. David SINCLAIR GWR Team/Giant

27. Peter DIBBEN Hargroves

28. Doug BALDOCK In-Gear Development Squad

29. Adam COTTERELL In-Gear Development Squad

30. Joshua CUNNINGHAM In-Gear Development Squad

31. Jaco EHLERS In-Gear Development Squad

32. Alec LESLIE John?s Bikes

33. Cam AUSTIN London Dynamo/Cyclefit

34. Joe HEMMANT London Dynamo/Cyclefit

35. Tom HEMMANT London Dynamo/Cyclefit

36. Richard HOULT London Dynamo/Cyclefit

37. Gavin RYAN London Dynamo/Cyclefit

38. Tom STOCKDALE MJS Racing

39. Geoffrey LULHAM Mule Bar

40. Steve CALLAND Norwood Paragon


41. Anton BLACKIE Oxford University

42. Henry MARTIN Oxford University

43. Samuel PARKER Oxford University

44. Flavio ZAPPI Oxford University

45. Jack ADAMS Pendragon?KALAS

46. David CLARKE Pendragon?KALAS

47. Douglas DEWEY Pendragon?KALAS

48. Matt EWINGS Pendragon?KALAS

49. John NYE Pendragon?KALAS

50. George RICHARDSON Pendragon?KALAS

51. Andrew MAGNIER Planet X

52. James LEWIS Port Talbot Wheelers

53. Ben STOCKDALE Qoroz Novatec

54. Josh YETMAN Qoroz Novatec

55. Jake MARTIN Rapha Condor

56. Stuart BOWERS Scott UK

57. Steve GOLLA Sigma Sport

58. Jerone WALTERS Sigma Sport

59. Toby NEAVE Southdown Velo

60. Marcin BIALOBLOCKI Sports Beans-Willier


61. Chris McNAMARA Team Corley

62. Felix ENGLISH Team

63. Martin DAWKINS Team Quest

64. Harry BULSTRODE Thames Velo

65. Chris OPIE UW+TC de Volharding

66. Dave CREGGAN VC Meudon

67. Keith JARRETT VC

68. Peter WAGER VC Meudon

69. Richard COOK Velo Club Montpellier

70. Simon BROOKS VC St Raphaël

71. Rowan HORNER VC St Raphaël

72. Colin PARRY VC St Raphaël

73. Jason STREATHER VC St Raphaël

74. Phill SYKES VC St Raphaël

75. Jason EDWARDS Wildside 707 RT

76. Simon McNAMARA Wildside 707 RT

77. Roger SMITH Wildside 707 RT

78. Mark SUSSEX Wildside 707 RT

79. Henry FURNISS Wyndymilla

80. Alex HIGHAM Wyndymilla