Bike Channel-Canyon sports director Tim Elverson believes the squad have shown “exactly what they are capable of” at the Tour de Yorkshire this weekend, with Chris Opie taking third in the opening bunch sprint and Harry Tanfield winning the combativity jersey in Harrogate.
The British Continental squad is enjoying its inaugural season, with Elverson and many of the riders on the young squad previously at Pedal-Heaven last year.
Sprinter Opie was signed from One Pro Cycling to lead the team, and finished third behind WorldTour riders Dylan Groenewegan (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Caleb Ewan (Orica-Bike Exchange) on stage one into Scarborough. He sat fourth overall after stage two as the highest placed British rider, before the climb-heavy stage three.
The team has also managed to get a rider in the breakaway on every one of the race’s three stages in Yorkshire: James Lowsley Williams on day one, Tanfield on day two, and Dexter Gardias on day three. Tanfield’s efforts ensured the public voted him into the combativity jersey.
“I’m really pleased, we’ve set out with a plan, we set out to enjoy the race, we set out to race the way we always race, aggressively and on the front foot and that’s exactly what we’ve done,” Elverson told Cycling Weekly.
“In my view it’s not a surprise I think the guys are doing exactly what they’re capable of and being comfortable and confident and having a go, rather than being overwhelmed by it.
“The top three [Opie’s result on stage one] was fantastic, obviously Harry’s on the podium today with combativity and we’ve just been going with everything.”
Cornwall-born Opie, 29, spent two seasons with One Pro and won a stage at the Tour of Korea and a stage and the overall at the Ronde van Midden-Nederland in the Netherlands last year, and is targeting more success with Bike Channel this season.
“I must be the least raced bike rider in the top five at the moment!” he joked. “But no I’m really pleased.
“I’ve always known I can perform at that level when I get the chance, but you know knowing you can do it and actually doing it are two different things. I’m happy, enjoying racing.”
After racing at the Ronde van Overijssel in the Netherlands next weekend the team will turn its attention towards the Tour Series in May, where they hope to secure victories and also pick up vital qualification points for the Tour of Britain in September.
“It’s [the Tour of Britain] a key thing to qualify for it, so is it for everybody else. We’re doing OK at the moment and yeah everything is about planning for that moment, but we’ve got to do enough to be at that race.”