Top British pro cycling team Team UK Youth is determined to make its mark in this year’s 10th anniversary Tour of Britain, targeting success at its “home stage” in Devon.

The Devon Stage (Stage Six), hosted by Devon County Council, will see the race’s biggest ever field of 114 riders head from sea to summit on Friday 20 September. The 85-mile (137 km) route will start at Sidmouth on the Jurassic Coast and finish at Haytor in Dartmoor National Park, the first ever summit finish in the history of the race.

Among the record 19 teams competing in Britain’s premier cycle race are Sky Professional Cycling Team, Omega Pharma – Quick Step, Garmin-Sharp, Cannondale Pro Cycling and Movistar, which will be racing in The Tour of Britain for the first time.

Team UK Youth, owned by former F1 World Champion Nigel Mansell, is enjoying its most successful season ever. After winning The Pearl Izumi Tour Series earlier this year they will be leading the charge of domestic teams. The team includes Yanto Barker, from Devon, and Chris Opie, from Cornwall, who both won two rounds of The Pearl Izumi Tour Series. They are aiming to continue their fine run of form, with stage wins and challenging for jerseys a genuine target.

Yanto Barker, who grew up in Totnes and was the top British rider in the 2005 Tour, said: “I am really looking forward to this year’s Tour of Britain. It is a pleasure to ride in such a high profile event, and combined with the stage in Devon, it’s a real nostalgic feeling racing in such elite company on my local roads where I trained when I was 14 and 15 years old. I used to ride imagining I was in the break of a big pro race which motivated me to train hard then, and now to go back in a big pro race with a real chance of being in the break is an extra motivation to do well.

“My aim for this year is to demonstrate we at UK Youth are a class and professional team; we have demonstrated this week after week in UK races but its important to myself, the team and Nigel himself that we show this on a world stage. All that Nigel has put together has been amazing to be part of and it would be great to repay his investment with some international results. All the boys will be highly motivated and ready to give everything, I personally can’t wait.”

Above – Yanto Barker wins the opening round of The Pearl Izumi Tour Series

Chris Opie, from Cornwall, said: “I learnt a lot from last year’s race and hopefully I can put that to good use to improve on every aspect and see what we can do in each stage. The route of this year’s Devon Stage is potentially even harder than last year, with two seriously tough climbs at the finish. It’ll be a fantastic stage no matter what happens.”

Above – Chris Opie on the podium following his Canary Wharf individual win

The Devon Stage includes SKODA King of the Mountains climbs at Pennsylvania Road on the outskirts of Exeter, Mamhead, as well as Six Mile Hill on Dartmoor. There are also Yodel Sprints outside Blundell’s School in Tiverton, through Exeter High Street and also at Chudleigh.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “The Tour of Britain is always a fantastic event that attracts hundreds of thousands of people to the county and I’m delighted that Yanto and Chris are looking forward to the Devon Stage. This year’s anniversary Tour is gearing up to be extra special with more world class teams and a record number of riders racing through our county.”

Councillor Ian Thomas, East Devon District Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy, said: “We are delighted that Nigel Mansell’s team are putting so much effort and energy into the race and our ‘local’ stage. It’s great to know that the stars of the future will be on view in our towns. Apart from the sheer spectacle of it all, these young riders will be sure to give encouragement to our local youngsters to take up this healthy pursuit and get on their own bikes.”

Councillor George Gribble, Teignbridge District Council Portfolio Holder for Communities, Recreation and Leisure, said: “We are very pleased to welcome The Tour to Teignbridge. It is a great opportunity for us to show the riders and all the supporters what a fantastic place it is. Let’s hope that the riders will have a moment to look up from the handlebars and enjoy the scenery.”

It will be the seventh year that Devon has featured in The Tour. The event has brought in more than £21 million to the local economy in that time. Last year’s Devon Stage generated more than £7.3 million in the county in a record breaking year watched by more than 220,000 spectators along the route in Devon.

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