Interview – Perfs Winner Yanto Barker


Star Trophy & Lincoln GP winner Yanto Barker ticks a box winning the 50th Perfs Pedal at Soutwick in Hampshire on Sunday

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Interview – Perfs Winner Yanto Barker

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Winner last season of the prestigious Star Trophy and the Lincoln Grand Prix, Le Col’s Yanto Barker got 2015 off to a great start winning the 50th edition of the Perfs Pedal Road Race in Hampshire.


Speaking to Yanto after the race, he was very pleased with the result but admits it could have been better. “I am happy with the result but I think we could have done things better, been tighter so there is a bit for us to learn. That might sound odd given the result but I’m thinking of the future and the bigger races with stronger fields.”

“The boys were really motivated and personally, I don’t care if it’s a big race or a little race, a strong field or a weak field, a wins a win and when I pin a number on my back, I want to show we are taking the race seriously and we mean business.”

“There is a lot of pressure when you are so clearly the favourites and also people are waiting for you to slip up. They almost want you to slip up. That is what you have to live with being high up in the rankings and having that kind of expectation. It’s a nice problem to have.”

While Yanto’s team were driving the race from the start, it was the ‘attack’ by Chris Opie on the climb to the finish with a lap to go that was key to the win for Yanto. “Moves like the one at the end don’t happen by accident” he explained.

“We had the strongest riders in the field and were the best represented in the group so we had to dictate the rhythm of the race and that ensure the splits are made in our favour at a time that suits us.”

“I went really hard from the bottom of the climb, made sure everyone else was hurting including myself, I was in the red, and Chris (Opie) went over the top. Not really an attack but more going through hard and he got a bit of gap. As soon as I saw he had a gap, I gave him the nod to keep going and he’s going really well and fair play to him.”


“Then the Pedal Heaven rider (Rory Townsend) who was going really well, went through and pulled a big turn but didn’t make it across, halfway perhaps, and when he swung off, everyone was gasping and I whilst I was still suffering, I knew now was the time to hit them; that is what you have to do.”

“I knew, as soon as I got to Chris, no-one else was going to come up to us and the other boys had the opportunity to sit in as they have teammates up the road. It was up to the others to try and pull us back but Marcin is going well and he doesn’t need much of an opportunity. You give him five minutes to sit on and he’ll want to hit you and get a gap and once he has a gap, you don’t get it back again.”

“To be fair to George (Harper), he did it perfectly too. He did the finish that was suited to his strengths and he’s going well. When he came across to us (earlier in the race), there was a pretty big gap and I didn’t see him at all coming up to us until he arrived so he’s obviously going well. He’s a real talent, new to road racing and has so much potential”.

Yanto explained with the first race for the team out of the way, they have another training camp and he says all the riders are on a very specific programme to get themselves to the absolute best they can be for the first of the Premiers pre Pearl Izumi Tour Series.

“Every stage has an objective and every objective is a tick in the box if you can hit it and there are small ones, medium ones and big ones. The smaller steps contribute to the big ones, so today is a tick in the box and tomorrow will be part of the process.”


Races easier than training?
Finally, it’s that time of the year when lots of riders are in warm weather training camps (or not so warm ones) and when asked what the difference is between that and races, Yanto replied “the races are easier!”

“I am saying that with a smile but I’m serious because in training, you are designing your training to reach your own personal limits and then stay there. In races, you are designing a strategy around making gaps and then keeping them. You only need to keep the gap, not make the gap 10 minutes instead of five minutes.”

“In our team, there are no dead weight riders. There is no-one there who isn’t able to do the equivalent of 420 watts or whatever for twenty minutes at their power to weight so when you put that into a race situation, once you have two minutes say, you can ease up. Once you have a minute, you can go steady. But if you are in a training situation up a mountain, you’re doing a time trial to the top!”

We’ll have more from Yanto in a feature interview to come on

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