Simon Yates says Great Britain's under 23 riders have found a new level in 2013 ahead of Sunday’s European Championship road race.
Yates - along with bother Adam, Sam Harrison, Sam Lowe, Tom Moses, Joe Perrett and Ali Slater - will line up in the Czech Republic for the 165-kilometre race.
“We’ve got a strong team this year,” Yates, a world points race champion on the track, said.
“I think we’ve all stepped up from the years before and we’ve all been working well together. I’m looking forward to it.”
An encouraging UCI under 23 Nations’ Cup campaign included a third place finish for Yates in La Côte Picarde before going on to win the under 23 jersey in May’s An Post Rás as the Great Britain squad, featuring Slater and Harrison, took the team classification in Ireland.
British Cycling Olympic Podium Programme athlete Yates has been touted as a potential leader for this weekend’s race by both team manager Keith Lambert and colleague Sam Harrison though the 20-year-old is adamant any of the seven strong squad can deliver a result.
“I think a lot of it depends on what happens on the road,” Yates said. “Obviously we have to go into with a bit of a plan and if I’m involved in that then obviously I’ll try and fulfil my role
“But as I said before we’ve got a strong team and any of us can do well in this race.”
"We’ve got a strong team and any of us can do well in this race.”
Yates has demonstrated his ability to both climb and sprint earlier this year at the Ardennes Classic, finishing in the top three on all four stages, winning the final stage with a solo breakaway on the final ascent.
Sunday’s route features 15 laps of a circuit with the main climb coming from Drozdin to Svaty Kopecek which Yates expects to act as a catalyst in the race.
“We’ve seen the profiles online and well have to look around when we get there,” Yates said.
“We can have a good ride around and see what the parcours is like, it looks like a hard course on paper.
“It goes up a fair bit but it’s nothing too serious, no Alpine climb but it should be enough to cause some damage,” Yates added.
Yates is also looking forward to linking up with twin brother Adam, who rides for trade team CC Etupes and finished third overall in this year’s Tour de Franche-Comté.
“It’s good, we get on well,” Yates said. “Obviously being so close we know each other is feeling just by looking at each other, it helps a lot when we are racing, understanding each other.”