James Barnes has embraced the opportunity to develop further as a cyclist after joining Cycle Power for 2019.
Barnes, who turns 28 next week, says he has known the team’s stalwarts, Maurice Moller and John Vlok, since beginning to race elite four years ago.
He has been involved with the team since the end of last year and, indicative of his experience, has raced in the 947 Cycle Challenge since he was just 10 years old.
“Since four years ago I’ve pretty much been a solo rider in the elite bunch,” Barnes told In the Bunch today.
“As you would know, a solo rider in an elite bunch is no way nearly as effective as say four riders.
“I’ve been riding in the 947 more actively as an elite for the last four years and to be joining Cycle Power will be a great help for me in terms of my ability to ride, help the younger guys and share my knowledge with them.”
The structured set-up in the team, Barnes said, was another aspect he was looking forward to.
“It is important not only to have a team around you, but also to have a follow car to provide mechanical and nutritional support during races as well.
“I work a full-time job so where the opportunities allow me I’d like to ride for them in tours where possible, but especially in the one-day classics.”
Barnes, from Johannesburg, expects to play something of a mentoring role in the team, especially considering he will be one of the senior riders.
“As one of the older guys I will probably be sharing my knowledge with the younger guys in terms of race dynamics,” he said.
“That includes which breaks to follow, which ones to close down, which ones to stick to, where to go and just how to manage the race.”
The team also recently announced the signing of Richard Damant for next season and, along with Moller and Vlok, the Pretoria-based team also comprises young riders Keanan Roodt, Dylan le Roux and Morne Soule.
Barnes said the team hoped to take part in the Mpumalanga Tour to kick-start the 2019 season, but said there had been no final confirmation of this as yet.