Wednesday, October 27, 2021
HomeInterviewsScott Thwaites - "My 2014 goal is that elusive first Pro win"

Scott Thwaites – “My 2014 goal is that elusive first Pro win”


Scott Thwaites. Photo©Roth&Roth

The last time we spoke to NetApp-Endura’s Scott Thwaites was in the spring of 2013, just after he’d finished in fifth place in the Handzame Classic and seventh spot in le Samyn – both hard races in brutal conditions.

For 2014 he’s already back in the groove again with a podium place on stage one of the Three Days of West Flanders, and he commented on his first podium finish of the season:

“I’m really happy with my 3rd place.

“I was disappointed with my prologue yesterday and was unsure of my form but today I felt really strong and with the help of the team I was able to position well and take third in the chaotic sprint.”

And on stage three he took eighth in another hectic finale.

The 24 year-old but has crammed a lot in – cyclocross, triathlon, MTB, a British Criterium
Championship, a Premier Calendar overall win and Belgian semi-classic arrival.

His first mention in despatches was for third in the British debutants’ cyclo-cross championship in 2005; he was second in the same event in 2006 and second again at junior level in 2007.

Triathlons and mountain biking were next with a win in the British U23 MTB Championships coming along the way.

He turned pro with Endura in 2010 on the strength of that title and exploded onto the British scene with a win in the hotly contested and highly sought after Lincoln GP in 2011.

The rapid progress continued in 2012 with a dazzling UK season; the high lights of which were the British Criterium Championship and the overall win in the Premier Calendar.

In 2013, in addition to his strong rides in Handzame and le Samyn, there were top ten finishes in stages of the Circuit de la Sarthe, Qinghai Lakes and Tour of Britain; similar finishes in the Philadelphia Cycling Classic and British Elite Road Race Championship as well as strong rides in the Brabantse Pijl and World Ports Classic.

VeloVeritas caught up with Scott shortly before his 2014 campaign kicked off with a strong third place in the Three Days of West Flanders which he backed up a week later with his superb second place in the Ronde van Drenthe to Kenny Dehaes (Lotto – Belisol).

Scott (R) at the head of affaires at the Three Days of West Flanders, with Trek's Danny Can Poppel taking the honours.
Scott (R) at the head of affaires at the Three Days of West Flanders, with Trek’s Danny Van Poppel taking the honours.

Some nice results, Scott – Brabantse Pijl isn’t for the faint hearted.

“I was in good shape for last spring; the parcours suited me and it was ideal because we had Paul Voss in the break – so I could ride in support of him.

“Sagan won it from Gilbert, Leukemans and Chavanel with Paul finishing ninth.”

And a strong ride too in the World Ports race; I’ve heard that it’s savagely fast?

“It’s almost a Belgian Classic; a very difficult race – those were two tough days but I felt OK and had good legs.”

Top ten in Philly, that’s even tougher now with the finish at the top of the Manayunk Wall.

“I really enjoyed that race, the circuit is great – we only had a small team of five but it was an important race for our bike sponsor, Fuji who is based in Philadelphia.

“There were big, enthusiastic crowds but I got a bit of cramp with the heat – I didn’t have big expectations going in to the race so it was nice to get a decent result.

“That hill top finish really sorts thing out.”

And you were close to a win in Qinghai…

“Yeah, that was disappointing; Benjamin Giraud of La Pomme, Marseille beat me for a stage by just six centimetres.

“It’s a difficult race with the altitude and the food isn’t the best – you have to be careful.

“The weather is so variable there, over the two weeks it goes from 30 degrees and baking sun down to three degrees and rain.”

Scott Thwaites
Scott reckons the Tour of Qinghai Lakes was his toughest challenge last season. Photo©NetApp-Endura/Brian Hodes

Top ten in Glasgow in the Nationals?

“It was a good circuit, interesting, tough but I was disappointed to miss the split.

“That front group was very strong and there wasn’t enough fire power behind.”

Your programme was pretty cosmo – San Luis, the US, China – and the Arctic.

“Yes, and I was in Turkey, too; all new places to me so very exciting.

“The Arctic race was mainly flat for the sprinters and the parcours was really beautiful.”

Which performance gave you most satisfaction?

“I was trying hard all season for my first win so was disappointed not to get it – but I was happy with how I rode in Brabantse, I think it was a good ride on a tough course against a very high level of opposition.”

And your toughest race days?

“Qinghai; it’s not just the fact that it’s a good race with strong opposition – there’s the travel to get there, the altitude, the food and it’s the longest race I’ve ever ridden.”

Was the end of 2013 frantic as guys tried to get results to get a ride for 2014?

“I think so, it was a hard time for riders coming out of contract and who were chasing a ride with a team – so you had guys giving it everything.”

Scott Thwaites
Scott with Alex Wetterhall at the Tour de San Louis last year. Photo©NetApp-Endura/Brian Hodes

How did your system cope with 70 race days?

“It was a big step up, not just in terms of number of race days but in the quality of the races and the distances.

“But I’d built a big endurance base over the winter to prepare myself and I felt good right up until the Nationals – then I took a week off.

“Overall the season went well and it gave me confidence for this year.”

Did you take much of a break at the end of the season?

“I had four weeks off then got back into it – I did some hard efforts in December and then began to sharpen up at our training camp in January.”

Have you changed your training now that the level of competition is higher?

“I had a new coach for 2013 and he placed more emphasis on specific efforts designed so that I can cope with 200 K and still have legs at the end.”

At camp do you ‘just ride and get the miles in’ or is it more structured?

“No, it was very specific with every ride having intervals in there at some stage.

“My group was focussing on sprints – but other groups were working on climbing, for example.”

How does the programme look?

“Early season it’s mainly Belgium – but it depends on the invites we receive…”

Goals for 2014?

“I’ve still to get that first win, it eluded me – and I want to race even bigger races.”

Lessons from 2013?

“To look after myself – it’s a long, hard season.

“I’ve worked hard at staying healthy and I want to stay that way!”

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Mark Christian – Raleigh’s Young Manxman Enjoys a Good Season Start

A nice result we spotted recently was Raleigh’s Mark Christian taking a top ten on stage two of the tough Tour du Haut Var. We decided to have a word with yet another product of that sea air on the Isle of Man.

Russell Downing – Cult’s New Signing; “I much prefer stage racing and classic racing”

The ride of the Commonwealth Games for me? Russ Downing's fourth place in the road race - 'grinta' is the man's middle name. As the World Tour stars headed into the pits, Russ just kept riding through the wind and rain - the man is dogged. His name featured in a recent press release we received from the Luxembourg/Danish Continental squad Cult, they're going Pro Continental for 2015 and yes, Mr. Downing is on board.

Douglas Dewey – “I have to start proving I can make it”

It was back in the spring when we last spoke to Douglas Dewey; he’d just won Gent-Staden, the first big race on the Belgian amateur calendar. Since then he’s ridden a very varied programme, including stage races in France and Belgium, hard fought kermises, a silver medal in the British Elite TT Championships and bronze in the British Pursuit Championship.

Steve Cummings – “I pick stages that are physically demanding”

Steve Cummings? He’s the real deal; a world champion on the track in the team pursuit; he paid his dues with Landbouwkrediet and Barloworld; rode for the ‘mega’ teams, Discovery, Sky, BMC; was part of that famous team which carried Cav to a rainbow jersey in Copenhagen but now he’s found his true niche – with South African squad Dimension Data. Last year the team raced as MTN-Qhubeka with Cummings netting a brilliant stage win in le Tour; this year the squad, with new sponsors has taken Cav on board and moved up to the World Tour.

Chris Lillywhite – 1993 Milk Race Winner; “I was fiery back then!”

It occurred to me that VeloVeritas had never spoken to the man who won the last edition of the famous Tour of Britain Milk Race back in 1993; Chris Lillywhite. A quick message to our friend Martyn Frank, who was on management with Chris on the late, lamented Wiggins team and we were in touch.

Reg Barnett – 1970’s World Class Pro; “a sprinter’s speed in a road rider’s body”

The 70’s are the ‘decade that taste forgot’ according to the Media; which is strange because I remember the era as having the best cars, music, films – and bike riders. On the continent the exploits of Sercu, Ocana, Merckx, Hoban, Gimondi, Verbeeck, Thevenet, De Vlaeminck and all the rest of a ‘Golden Generation’ of hard men made the disappointment of ‘The Comic’ being late once again all the harder to bear.

At Random

Off-Season Report – So Far! Dan Patten’s Blog

It's Christmas time, which means the first half of the off-season is coming to an end. Time has flown by since finishing up my season in Belgium mid-October. The body was certainly in need of recovery, after hitting the ground too many times in the second half of the season. Not least because on two occassions I was hit by cars, with the last time coming just a week before the end of the season...

New to VV: Toby Watson presents Tobe’s Blog

We're very pleased to announce that Garmin Transitions physiotherapist Toby Watson will be contributing articles to his new VeloVeritas blog.

Micheal Wilson – Aussie Giro Stage Winner in the 80’s

‘Lockdown’ does have benefits. The big advantage for me is that I have time to catch up with riders who it’s long overdue I should speak to. One such rider is Australia’s Micheal Wilson, a winner of Grand Tour stages and Italian races of quality. Micheal was at home in Tasmania with a glass of his own Pinot Grigio to hand – Micheal is still involved in wine production – when I called and asked him to stroll down memory lane with me...

Steve Swart – Former Tour Rider and New Zealander of the Year

The ANC trail is still fresh, after Micky Morrison, Adrian Timmis and Paul Kilbourne all spoke to VeloVeritas, we tracked down another man who was there and just about made it to Paris in that now legendary 1987 ANC Tour de France adventure: Kiwi, Steve Swart.

Matt Gibson – UCI European U23 Scratch Race Champion 2015

Le Tour is like Pac-Man, it gobbles up every bit of attention there is in the world of bike racing; the Tour of Austria runs concurrently but you wouldn’t realise. For the record, Victor de la Parte of UCI Continental Team Voralberg won it; beating six World Tour and seven Pro Continental teams in the process. In addition there were the UCI European U23 Track Championships in Athens – stand out rides were a sub four minute team pursuit by the GB squad to win and a win in the scratch race by one of the pursuit team members – Matt Gibson.

Le Tour de France 2006 – Day 1: The Operation Puerto Bombshell!

The Operation Puerto bombshell has gone off - we just received a communiqué -Tour organisers defy Court of Arbitration in Sport and Astana Wurth DO NOT start 2006 Tour de France! If you are ever asked at a pub quiz how far it is from Kirkcaldy to Strasbourg, the answer is 915 miles -- if you go via Calais, Reims and Metz that is.I left Kirkcaldy at 7.30 pm last night and was waiting to board my ferry out of Dover exactly eight hours and 527 miles later.