To celebrate the 10th edition of the OVO Energy Tour Series in May, the will be asking riders, team managers, cycling experts and even race staff to pick their Dream Team from the hundreds of riders who have competed in Britain’s leading criterium series.

Builder-turned biker-turned builder Ian Wilkinson is a three-time Tour Series champion. He rode for three of the real life Dream Teams to grace the event since 2009: inaugural men’s champions Halfords BikeHut, the dominant Endura Racing squad of 2012 and arguably the best team in series history, 2013 champions Team UK Youth.

“Wilko” stepped away from racing in 2016, but was one of the Series’ big characters during his time on the scene. Who else would roll up to the start line of each round in the Superman pose (in a nod to the Lancastrian’s nickname)?

His fond memories of the Tour Series remain. He recalls: “I remember how Mick [Bennett, series director] would tell us every year that the series was going to be bigger and better. ‘Durham’s signed up for another year,’ is what he would tell us, all enthusiastically. Mick, riders like me never wanted to race there after the first year, it’s too hard!”

So, who has Wilkinson picked for our sixth Tour Series Dream Team?

IAN WILKINSON Retired; formerly of Halfords BikeHut, Endura Racing, Team UK Youth, Raleigh-GAC, Pedal Heaven

“Who wouldn’t want to pick themselves? I had a great time racing the Tour Series – it was a chance to get on the telly box! I got two individual wins, top 10s in probably 70% of the races I got to the finish in, and title wins with Halfords, Endura and UK Youth.

“I always loved playing about on the bike – that’s from my mountain bike days. And given the crowds at the races, I thought I’d start having some fun with them. Riding in the Superman pose up to the start line before each race is a bit different to doing a wheelie – nobody else was doing it – and so it quickly became my thing. Obviously I wouldn’t have done it if I wasn’t getting results: you can’t act like a clown if you’re not backing it up!”

ED CLANCY JLT Condor; formerly of Halfords BikeHut, Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta

“Ed once tried to lead me out in a Tour Series round when we rode for Halfords in 2009. He did four laps on the front, destroying everybody else, and when I came to sprint I couldn’t get past him either! He’s quick, a real gent, and an absolute star.”

Ed Clancy leads the breakaway, Aberystwyth 2011

JON MOULD JLT Condor; formerly of Team UK Youth, NFTO Pro Cycling, ONE Pro Cycling

“I rode with Mouldy at UK Youth in 2013, which was probably the year he started to break through on the British scene. A true crit specialist: when he’s going well nobody can’t beat him. He’s a bit of a Welsh cracker, really: he’s very fast and good for banter.”

GRAHAM BRIGGS JLT Condor; formerly of Candi TV-Marshalls Pasta, Team Raleigh

“Brigga’s the only member of this squad whom I was never team-mates with . When he’s going well he’s bloody good. He loves to get the emotions high on race day – he really buys into what each event means. He’s there to win, which is what I like. There’s no doubting his pedigree.”

SCOTT THWAITES Dimension Data for Qhubeka; formerly of Endura Racing

“My fifth choice is a tough one. Bibs [Ian Bibby] is worth a shout; people think he’s a blooming road racer but he’s useful in the crits. Bibs is another person who is unbeatable when they’re really on it.

“But I’ve got to pick Scott Thwaites: he won loads in 2011 and 2012, and quickly became a key part of Endura Racing. He was second when I won in Woking [in 2011], I recall. There was something about him back then: he could suffer one minute and then pop out and beat anybody in a sprint the next. Without seemingly being overly serious it was clear he had big dreams; it’s not a surprise to me that’s he’s gone on to bigger and better things riding for a WorldTour team and finishing the Tour de France.”

Wilkinson (l) leads the peloton up Durham’s cobbled South Street climb during the Series’ inaugural round in the city in 2010.

DS KEITH LAMBERT British Cycling Men’s Academy team manager; formerly of Halfords BikeHut, Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta

“An absolute legend of the sport. Keith knows how to keep riders interested and keen. He has the experience, as well as an ability to motivate that very few people in the sport have. You feel like you want to do well for him – it’s no surprise that he’s helped bring through so many riders from the [British Cycling Olympic] Academy in recent years.”

To save you from doing the maths, Wilkinson’s riders have 30 individual round victories and 17 Series titles between them. Firepower in the extreme!

Does he miss racing, we asked? “Being a rider? Not really, no,” he said. “If you’re going bike racing you should go to compete. I really, really hated going to races just to get round. After all, it’s called bike racing: it says it on the label.”