Whilst many of the Premier Calendar riders were enduring the cold, windy, climes that punctuate the long, British winter, Dave Clarke travelled to Africa for the Tour of Cameroon.
Not content to simply make up the numbers, Clarke won the King of the Mountains prize and the race overall.
?It?s a great race and it?s better than staying in the snow!? Clarke told cyclingweekly.co.uk.
Part of the UCI?s burgeoning Africa Tour calendar, the race is well-organised and attracts teams from across Africa and Europe.
?It?s a fairly big sport in Africa, it?s like riding a pro race in Europe with the number of people. On the last stage, there were about 500,000 people lining the route to watch the riders pass.
?There are a few potholes on the roads, but on the whole the roads are quite good. The hotels and the food weren?t very good though, but that?s the same everywhere. I always make sure I take a lot more food with me when I go abroad and a kettle to make some noodles?.
Those with beady eyes may have noticed that the Estonian sprinter Jaan Kirsipuu was also riding in the event and he even won a stage.
Kirsipuu retired from professional cycling at the end of 2006, but says Clarke, has a full programme of African stage races on the calendar this year. After Cameroon, Kirsipuu will head to Morocco and may even ride the Ras this year.
A hard winter of training, with three and a half weeks in Lanzarote, has obviously paid dividends for Clarke. Guest-riding for a German team in Cameroon, Clarke will now join his new Pendragon team-mates for their assault on the domestic calendar.
?I?ve worked hard over the winter and I?d like to do well in some of the Premier Calendar races this year and get some decent results.
?I?d also like to go and win a race in Asia. I might do some of the Tour Series criteriums, but I?m not the best sprinter in the world. Ideally though, I?d like to secure a place on a Continental team by the end of the season?.
Clarke to lead new south-west based team
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Founded in 1891, Cycling Weekly and its team of expert journalists brings cyclists in-depth reviews, extensive coverage of both professional and domestic racing, as well as fitness advice and 'brew a cuppa and put your feet up' features. Cycling Weekly serves its audience across a range of platforms, from good old-fashioned print to online journalism, and video.
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