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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Semi-pro cyclists limbering up to lock horns with elite in Barrow

A LEADING rider due to compete in a major cycling event coming to Barrow says the squad’s excitement is being mirrored across the entire south Cumbria cycling community.

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excitement building Stuart Reid, left, from the Wheelbase Altura MGD team and Jack Sadler from Arrad Foot, who hopes to be selected to ride in the race for the Rapha Condor JLT team

The Pearl Izumi Tour Series is taking place at 10 venues across the UK over five weeks and is coming to Barrow on May 15, bringing an all-action, fast-paced race to the town centre,

Semi-pro team Wheelbase Altura MGD, which is based at Wheelbase, the UK’s largest cycling store, in Staveley, will be among the teams competing on the night, locking horns with full-time professional teams brimming with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Joint-captain Stuart Reid, of Kendal, is no stranger to competing in the Tour Series, which is broadcast on ITV4. The firefighter believes the fact the event is being held in Barrow has really captured the imagination of local riders.

The 33-year-old said: “Obviously, following on from the Tour of Britain visiting the area last year, the general buzz in the cycling fraternity in the area is pretty good at the minute.

“This Tour Series has a fantastic reputation of being the number-one elite-level racing series in the country. It’s shown on TV and it’s got a very good reputation, so for it to come to Barrow is a massive scoop.

“Everyone I talk to while cycling, and in the shop, is really excited. The cycling fraternity in this area is pretty strong anyway.

“The South Lakes has always had a good cycling community, so I think the crowds will be fantastic; obviously weather-dependent.

“But I’m sure we can expect a substantial crowd.”

Despite not being professional and unable to commit to the entire race programme, Wheelbase held its own during the 2013 Tour Series and Mr Reid is confident he and his team-mates can put on a good showing in Barrow.

He said: “We’re not a full-time professional team, but we do our best and we get stuck into the racing. There were some statistics from the Tour Series last year that showed, out of the 11 full-time teams that they had, and numerous guest teams, we were seventh or eighth on this list of statistics.

“So for a team that didn’t do the full series – we only did four out of the 11 rounds – just to be in the statistics at all was a major scoop for us.

“I did three rounds last year and I finished ninth in one of those, so to be in the top-10 in a major elite race like this was one of my best rides of the year and I was really pleased with that.”

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