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Adam Blythe : Interview

Adam Blythe
Josh Cunningham
30 Apr 2015

After four years racing at world level, Adam Blythe stepped down to domestic racing. Now he's back at the top with Orica-Greenedge.

Cyclist: How does UK racing compare to pro racing on the continent?

Adam Blythe: The racing is just as tough, but it’s different. In the UK it’s hard from the gun – you get in a break and that’s it for the rest of the day. There’s no real team domination like in the World Tour, where guys go off the front then the teams bring it back and it just gets faster and faster. The UK isn’t like that – it starts fast and almost gets slower. At the start it’s a bit strange to think, ‘Right now I’ve got to go as hard as I can to get in the break, even though we’ve got hours of racing left.’

Cyc: How do the team dynamics differ?

AB: In Europe every rider in the peloton can win any given bike race. In the UK there’s maybe around 10 riders that can. There aren’t many outstanding riders in the UK, so I’d say that’s the main difference.

Cyc: With races such as the Tour of Britain, Ride London and the new Tour de Yorkshire, the amount of elite racing here is rapidly increasing. How do you see that affecting the UK’s domestic scene?

AB: Races like that are almost as hard as World Tour races. There are still World Tour teams, and when they come over they race in their own style [breakaway, chase], which the UK teams adapt to. It’s hard to explain, but if these teams continue to come and do these races in their own style then the British racing scene will eventually adopt it too.

Cyc: How was last year’s Tour of Britain for you?

AB: Personally, my form was good but I didn’t really shine or do any great rides, so there was nothing on paper [9th on stage 8 being best]. But what an amazing event. I’d never done it before so I’m happy I got the chance to.

Cyc: What about the Ride London classic? Do you think your victory there made your season?

AB: Definitely. Before the season I said to the NFTO team owner, John Wood, that there were only two things I wanted to do – that and the Tour of Britain. They were my only two targets, and luckily I delivered in one of them. The way the race went, with the small break at the end and the guys that were in it [including Ben Swift and Philippe Gilbert] made it completely different
to if I’d won from a bunch sprint. I think it sealed the deal [for gaining the contract with Orica-GreenEdge].

Cyc: Were there any other offers on the table?

AB: No, not really. I was in contact with a few teams, but nothing solid. After Ride London a few more teams became interested, but I had that one offer from Orica and I wanted to take it. They offered me a good programme and great support so I couldn’t refuse it really.

Adam Blythe interview

Cyc: What do you think your role within the team will be?

AB: I think I’ll mainly be a lead out man for Caleb Ewan [the up-and-coming Aussie sprinter], just helping him in the sprints. I’m hoping for some good results in the first third of the season and going into the Classics, so we’ll see.

Cyc: Do you think your personality will fit in with the Aussie vibe?

AB: I hope so, yes. There will be a bit of a laugh, a bit of banter and all that stuff. So yeah, it should be good.

Cyc: What’s the deal with your wacky Nike footwear? Didn’t it stop making cycling shoes?

AB: It’s just a personal sponsorship. I send them a design I want and then they produce it. It’s pretty cool being able to design the shoes even right down to the Boa dial. They’re made by a guy in Italy, but it’s Nike.

Cyc: Do you feel as though you’re excluded from the British clique?

AB: No, not at all. I get on well with British Cycling – they’re a great bunch of guys – but it’s only at the Worlds and the Olympics that road riders get the chance to race together. If I had the form to go to those races I wouldn’t turn it down.

Cyc: You were part of the British Cycling set-up as a younger rider, but you left the academy as an under-23. Did you find the system didn’t work for you coming through the ranks?

AB: I guess so. I was in the academy for a little bit but I found I didn’t really enjoy it. I agreed with Dave Brailsford to leave and just went my own way. I think considering the way I wanted my career to go, going to Belgium was perfect, and I’m more than happy with the way it’s gone so far.

Cyc: Why did you choose to go and ride as an amateur in Belgium?

AB: I’d raced there before and I love the racing style. It’s one place you can go to and race all the time. If you can handle it then it makes a huge difference to you as a bike rider in the long term. It teaches you how to ride a bike, how to race. Nowadays I think there’s too much focus on looking at a power meter and whether you’re over or under your threshold. If you’re a youngster coming through, I think that takes away from what you need to be learning.

Cyc: We understand you’re good friends with Philippe Gilbert? What was it like starting your career in the same team?

AB: Those Lotto years were mega. When I was a first-year pro I didn’t actually realise how good it was or how fun it was. There’s so much stress in teams nowadays – I think cycling’s changed since Team Sky’s come in, and everything has just got to be overly improved. ‘If you haven’t got this or that helmet then you’re going to lose.’ Marginal gains, as they call it. That’s translated into the way everything works, and I think it takes the fun out of it in some ways. When I was at Lotto it was just a great laugh; a bunch of blokes riding their bikes and I was in there with them. I didn’t realise how cool it was at the time, but it was good fun.

Cyc: Why do you live in Monaco?

AB: I used to ride with Gilbert when he was in Belgium, and he lived in Monaco. He said, ‘Why don’t you live in Monaco? It’s better for training, blah blah blah…’ So I looked into it and thought I may as well, so I packed my stuff up and moved down there. It’s a nice way of life – by the sea too, which makes a massive difference. The weather is good and the training is even better.

Cyc: What do you get up to in your free time?

AB: Shopping. I’m a terrible shopper as I’m a bit of a snob and like my designer clothes. I’m not hugely into Formula One but I know a couple of guys who do it and it’s cool to go out for a ride and have a coffee with them. 

You can follow Adam on Twitter @AdamBlythe89

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