Interview – New Team for Yanto Barker


2015 will see a new team on British roads and team captain for One Pro Cycling is Lincoln GP winner Yanto Barker

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Interview – New Team for Yanto Barker

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One of the most successful riders in 2014 was Yanto Barker who is swapping his Team Raleigh Militis for One Pro Cycling’s Cérvelo S5. Barker, one of the most experienced, if not the most experienced, will be One Pro Cycling’s team captain.


There isn’t much Yanto hasn’t done in bike races including commentating on them from a motorbike – this race the Tour of Britain

A win in the British monument, the Lincoln Grand Prix, was his biggest victory this year by far along with a win in the British Cycling National Road Series for the Star Trophy. Yanto was also one of only three riders with the most top 10’s in major British events, 15 in all, along with NDFTO’s Adam Blythe and Graham Briggs.

It’s all change for 2015 for the owner of the Le Col and YB clothing brands as he moves to international cricketer Matt Prior’s brand new team; One Pro Cycling. VeloUK spoke with Yanto on the morning the news was released about the team and its riders.

Yanto Barker – Race Captain (from Raleigh)
George Atkins (from Raleigh)
Tom Baylis
Johnny Bellis
Marcin Bialoblocki (Giordana)
George Harper (Giordana)
Marc Hester (Denmark)
Josh Hunt (NFTO)
Jon Mould (NFTO)
Chris Opie (Rapha Condor JLT)
Pete Williams (Haribo Beacon)
Sam Williams (NFTO)

“It is a quality line up and very special for what we are trying to achieve” says Yanto of the ride line up and support staff. “The aim has been to pick a team that can perform on the road as well as get on well together and I think that is very important” he explained.

“We are a new team starting from scratch and so there will be some catching up to do but I don’t think there will be any huge pressure on us. That said, we’re all competitive athletes and we want to win.”


Pulling wheelies at the team launch on his Militis at the team launch for Raleigh in 2014. Will he dare do the same on his 2015 bike, the Cervelo?

The team has been in the planning stage for quite a while and Yanto explained that he is one of the riders who was spoken to early on in the process. In One Pro Cycling, Yanto will be working with his coach Steven Benton who is also an integral part of the One Pro Cycling set up.

“I have worked with Steve consistently now for two and a bit years and we work well together” says Yanto. “We understand each other and the end result we’re trying to achieve both from my own performance but also in translating the performances of the other riders and their capabilities into results”.

“The team is a key factor in setting up riders for their objectives on any given day like leading them out or getting them into a position where they can convert that potential into a result”.

The star name in the team, the one that will help bring it publicity to the wider public that the riders alone cannot, is the figurehead and team owner, Matt Prior. The international cricketer has already been on TV and radio to talk of the project and Yanto is full of praise for his team boss.

“I have been getting to know Matt over the last few months and he has proved that he’s a person that when he says he’s going to do something, he’ll do it and that’s a real pleasure to come across because that is all too rare these days”.

“He’s a super driven competitive athlete himself who has a great passion for cycling and is very focused on providing what we need as athletes to perform. He really has broken down some obstacles already and made sure we have what we need”.


Prior told the Telegraph newspaper,  he will be “very involved” in the running of the team and that they are aiming for the top. “We are hugely ambitious. Whatever sport you play, you always want to play at the highest level and in cycling that means the WorldTour, it means the Tour de France, it means the Giro d’Italia”.

“That said, it is right to start at Continental level and build the team up. There is a long way to go and a lot of things will need to fall into place.”

Whilst the sponsors of the team are not obvious from the title of the team, they will be revealed says Prior at the team launch in February. The ashes winning cricketer admits to have put his own money into the team but added that by February’s team launch, the other backers of the project would be revealed as well.

“Basically it’s all come together in the last three months,” he said in the Telegraph’s article on the team. “Going forward I will be hugely involved. It’s the same with everything I do, I want to win, but I am aware of my limitations. There is nothing worse than a club cricketer on a Saturday claiming to know how to win a Test match. And it’s the same here. I’m a keen cyclist but I’m not claiming to know how to win bike races. That is why we have Matt Winston, Yanto Barker and all these guys.”

The Line Up
Whilst for cycling fans, many of the names in the team are familiar, some are not. The team sees sprinter Chris Opie from Rapha Condor-JLT and Marcin Bialoblocki from Giordana Racing come together with Barker again as they were at UK Youth. Tour Series sensation in 2014, Jon Mould and Josh Hunt join from NFTO along with little known young rider from the same team, Sam Williams.

Under 23 GB rider Jonny Bellis (below) who sensationally won a bronze Medal in the World Road Championships quite a few years ago now (2007), before being involved in an accident in Italy and never regaining that form, continues his comeback.



George Atkins, a former GB Academy rider, moves across from Raleigh like Barker, whilst George Harper joins from Giordana which will not have a Men’s team in 2015. A former winner of the Sprinters jersey in the Tour of Britain, Pete Williams is back in the big time with the team and to round out the twelve rider squad are two ‘new’ names.
Tom Baylis for example is a young rider from Yanto’s old club Mid Devon in the South West and is the National Junior 10 Champion and was third in the Junior Road Race Championship. Tom, says Yanto, is “absolutely a quality bike rider both in personality and physical ability”.

Danish rider Marc Hester meanwhile is a road and track rider who joins the team to give it that speed element for events like the Tour Series. Marc, a six day rider, was fourth in the Gent Six Day and that performance and others of his scream ‘quality’. Marc, along with Chris Opie, will key riders in sprint finishes, not just in the Tour Series but on the road as well and Hester, who rides a Dolan in the six days, could well be a real ‘find’ for the new team.

Yanto’s review of his own season
Turning our attention to Yanto’s 2014 season, the Lincoln Grand Prix winner says “2013 for me was an eye catching year, with Nigel (Mansell) and what we did at the Tour Series (two wins for Yanto and overall victory of the team). Then the team I was with stopped abruptly for everyone involved and they all went somewhere else and I was grateful to be with Ian Wilkinson (teammate in 2013) in Team Raleigh this year”.

“In UK Youth, I was involved with it for a couple of years and helped put that together in a way that I thought best but that was not the case at Raleigh because I was fitting into a structure that already existed. I was really just there to do a job on the bike and that meant I had a lot less influence on the wider approach the team took with things.”


On his way to winning the Lincoln GP, Yanto Barker. Photo

“Not that it was good or bad, just that it was different so it made my 2014 results a lot less obvious until you break down the stats. I was personally very pleased with my performances this year because they showed I was adaptable and could fit into other structures and go straight to winning and performing”.

“I run a business and do a few other bits and pieces but I don’t let that get in the way of who I am as an athlete because that is what I am deep down. 2014 kind of proved that leave me to it and I will deliver regularly the type of performances a team would hope an international pro athlete will deliver”.

So will 2015 be any different I asked? “We are a young team looking to fulfil our potential. I think we will have some catching up to do on the other teams and for me, being team captain is a positive position to be in. My role is to help convert the potential as a collective of all the individuals in the team into a result at the end”.


Ten years ago, 2004, and Yanto is on the startline for the first Tour of Britain along with Tom Southam who is now a DS for Aussie team, Drapac. Yanto, having had a few years out of the sport, still appears to have the same youthful enthusiasm he does above however! He doesn’t look any older anyway LoL

Yanto added that this could mean him working for someone else or having them work for him depending on the race and the how the selected riders feel in individual races. “Being team captain doesn’t mean when I pin a number on my back, I’m not super competitive, because I am as I train hard so I can be competitive in races.”

“I know the law of averages says I will make a selection in a race and be the strongest rider from our team on that day. I’ll take those opportunities with both hands when they come”.

“This is the key for the young riders in the team because they need to know when they go into a team, that they are not put on the front unnecessarily because we will know from the figures from Steve (power etc) who will help with selection for races etc, that we have the right person to lead that day and that there will be no questions or hesitation from the rest of the team in supporting them and getting on the front and doing a job for them”.

Yanto went on to explain how he prides himself on being an all-round rider and that means going for wins in both the many circuit races that form part of the British racing season or the longer road races.

“In 2013, I won two rounds of the Tour Series which is about pure speed and technical ability on the various circuits and plenty of other riders over 30 have won rounds as well. Tactical ability for example makes for three or four percent and that be the difference between winning and not”.


Yanto Barker and Jon Mould enjoying their time together in 2013 along with Rob Partridge.

Before the team is tested on the road in British races however, or even UCI races abroad should they get the required invites, there’s the winter of laying a foundation for the season ahead. Yanto says of the months ahead, “this is all about getting myself into good condition and one of the good things working with Steve Benton is I can start the season going well and manage that form”.

“Quite often you can start a season well and then get tired and you suffer later on. This year and last year, the two years I have worked with Steve, I have felt that I started in a positive place with the racing and been able to maintain that form for longer than I expected. Steve is a precision man and he knows me well and we have got to know what works and what doesn’t”.

After the last few years, probably the best years of Yanto’s career in some ways, the team will be relying on him to help them get up to speed quickly and I’m sure he’ll help them do that. Thank you to Yanto for the five minutes that turned into fifteen.. much appreciated and good luck!

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