In His Own Way: Adam Blythe

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In His Own Way: Adam Blythe

August 4, 2009; by Larry Hickmott

Top step of the podium is where Adam Blythe likes to be.

The number of British riders in the pro peloton is growing and for Sheffield’s Adam Blythe, earning a chance at racing at the highest level is a dream come true. The 20 year old will be a stagiaire for the Belgian team Silence-Lotto this autumn and it’s the opportunity he has been chasing for many years now.

Adam has been a racer for over half his young life and with some notable victories as a Youth and Junior, it is no surprise that Adam is starting to get rewarded with a chance at becoming a fully fledged professional rider. As a Junior, Adam has won European titles on the track, was UIV Cup winner for the Madison and on the road has had victories in races such as Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne (Junior) and the Axel Three-day stage race.

After his success with the Great Britain Cycling Team's Olympic Development Programme, Adam was selected to move up to the Olympic Academy but that lifestyle wasn’t for him and his place on that programme was short lived. Adam soon decided to move to Belgium and take his own road to the pro peloton.

After moving up into the senior ranks, in 2008 he had two victories in the Tour of Hong Kong and in 2009 prior to the European road championships, he moved up a level with a victory in the Thüringen-Rundfahrt. Looking back, Adam explained that the three months in South Africa with Konica Minolta was pretty much an end of season thing to see how things went.

They went well of course with two victories and at the start of 2009 Adam signed with a new team, DAVO, and things have been going pretty well for him ever since. “I have done a lot of stage races and had a lot of podiums including a win so it’s been going good” Adam explained.

Adam was then selected to represent Great Britain in the European Road Championships and he says it was good to know that even though he is outside the Academy, that he is still being considered for races. But it is the long term goal of turning professional that Adam is concentrating on.

The team he signed for in 2009 is a development team for Lotto and his success with DAVO has seen him take up their offer of a stagiaire place. “With the success I have had, a few teams showed interest in signing me which was really good. The team I am with now however is good and I can trust the manager so things are looking good for next season too.”

“The ideal scenario is to turn professional but I don’t want to turn pro too early and get my head kicked in. May be if I had gone pro this year, that would have probably happened and that would not have been good for me long term.”
Adam knows that turning professional has a realistic side to it and is not just a dream where everything is rosy. “It’s good being a pro when things are going well but it is really hard when you’re not going well and you have to get to the front in a race and drive it”.

“So it is a matter of patience and knowing when I am ready.”

Adam is full of praise for his manager at DAVO Kurt Van Der Wouwer who was 11th in the Tour de France one year. “He knows my kind of racing, what type of rider I am and what type of races suit me but also enters me in races I’m not good in to help me develop my climbing.”

Just how difficult it can be moving abroad and racing can be seen when Adam admits he couldn’t afford to return to the UK for the British Road Race championships because money is tight being based in another country and racing full time. “It is a good life but I do have to watch the money and what I am spending it on. I am mates with Matt Brammeier and Tim Harris and they look after me a lot and Lizzie (Armitstead) is staying with me now”.

Adam Blythe as a Junior was one of the top track riders in the world but since moving to Belgium, he has concentrated on the road.

Adam and Lizzie have been together now for four years and Adam says that now Lizzie is on a Belgium team and getting a lot of racing, they can support and look after each other. After the Europeans and a successful Tour of Italy for Lizzie, the pair of them took a holiday and are now back racing and training with their teams. Adam has a three day stage race coming up in Belgium whilst Lizzie has a stage race in France.

For Lizzie, the Road Worlds are a big goal and Adam too would like to get selected for the Great Britain team although he admits, even if he doesn’t it won’t be the end of the world and he’ll continue to carry on doing the best he can on the bike. One of his most recent results was a second place in a support race at one of the Post Tour crits in Belgium.

Being part of a small development team means the races Adam gets to ride in are not always the household names that young riders aspire to racing in. Unsurprisingly, Adam says he enjoys racing in the bigger events with the pro teams and doing well in such events because it is good for his profile. He adds that the team is willing to support him if he is going well and it’s possible to do so. “In those type of races with the pros everything is that much faster so a it is a matter of looking after yourself and seeing what you can do at the end”.

“Living and racing here in Belgium, I know quite a lot of guys in the peloton now and that mean’s it is a lot easier to move around the group and I have quite a lot of respect from the riders which helps.”

His big challenge now though is to make the most of his time as a stagiaire with Lotto and as yet, he doesn’t know what his programme is going to be but who knows, if it all goes well, in 2010 Adam may well be yet another addition to the British contingent in the professional peloton.

Good luck to Adam.