After illness and a tough start to series, Cornish hero Chris Opie is back in the game at Canary Wharf where he finished second and took the evening’s Costa Express Fastest Lap Award.

Asked to explained where he has been, Chris explained “Everything was going perfectly up until March and I had a cold and that turned into a sinus infection and that turned into a chest infection and was on antibiotics for a while but they turned out to be the wrong ones!

“I had recovered in the meantime though and started training and was feeling good and thought everything will be fine, and then it got me again. I didn’t train properly for six weeks  and then had a few weeks light training whilst I recovered properly and its only been two weeks now that I have been able to train properly.

Below – A return to Canary Wharf was fitting, as Opie featured prominently in Canary Wharf's promotional campaign around the estate, including on these lift doors.

""“It was hard and I was getting quite worried about getting ill constantly. I’m not back to my best yet though…”

Chris had a very tough evening in Redditch on a tough course where there is no hiding place, getting dropped and not racing in the mix where he would normally be. On this he says “I would have gladly announced my retirement on Tuesday evening sat on the bumper of the car. If it wasn’t for stern words from my coach Steve Benton, I would not have been in the good spirits I was in this evening.
 
“Three or four o’clock today, I was not in a good place. I did not know what to expect this evening. I didn’t feel amazing in the race but knowing I can still do the job that I am meant to be doing is a confidence boost.”

 
Chris was grimacing in the break but hanging in there, words he says summed up perfectly his race in the break.

“‘Tubs’ was the strongest rider in that group and deserved to win on the night” he says. “He was following all the attacks and having been his teammate last year, I know how he races, and knew that I’d be safe as long as I kept him close.”

“Unfortunately, I let him get too far away on the final lap and Tobyn is a fast rider in the sprint and he got the gap coming out of that final corner and I hesitated a little bit too long.”

Below – Tobyn Horton beats Opie (in yellow) to the finish in Canary Wharf

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Having been on the podium where his team were the winners on the night thanks to his second place and the results of Felix English and Ed Clancy in the peloton,  Chris says having been up there on the podium, he wants more!

“I have watched each round of the series to see who is going well and seen them winning and then to turn up on Tuesday evening and not perform as one of them, that was a real downer and so to come here and prove I should be  riding with them, that’s great”.

Below – On the podium with his Rapha Condor JLT teammates

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On the high level of racing in the Pearl Izumi Tour Series which goes up all the time and drags the level of racing in Britain up, Chris says “we have so many fantastic sponsors in Britain at the moment and we really need to do everything we can to maintain that because without them, none of this would be happening.
 
“Its because of them, the level is rising. There are more riders now able to do this full time and it becomes a viable career for them”. 
 
The next round is at Woking and Chris says it’s a tough one, twisty. “Some one once described it like a formula 1 circuit – there is always something happening so that will be an interesting one. It’s a hard round with all the twists and turns and that hard rise through the finish. It will be exciting.”

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