Sunday, July 25, 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.

Ben Swift – Team Ineos Stalwart is National Road Champion 2019

Ben Swift launched a monster kick, leaving Scot, John Archibald to the bronze then zooming past teammate Ian Stannard on his blindside in the streets of Norwich to arrive at the line in solitary splendour and unleash a mighty roar of triumph and relief. We caught up with him at his Isle of Man home on the Tuesday after his win...

Matt Green – “It’s Good to be Back!”

It's been a while since we last spoke to Englishman Matt Green at the tail-end of 2011, when he was off across the pond to ride in the 'States, and a lot has happened to him since then - not least of which a very serious accident which kept him out of action for most of last season. Matt's recovered from his injuries now, is back on the bike and back in training, with a contract to race again for a fourth year with the US team Astellas Professional Cycling - plus a new blog recording how his year pans-out starting soon, right here on VeloVeritas! Let's catch up with Matt and hear about what's been happening...

Shaun Wallace – Part One; Worlds Pursuiter in the 90’s

Shaun Wallace was a multiple British champion, twice Worlds silver medallist and three times a Commonwealth Games silver medallist as well as a world record holder on two occasions. High times we caught up with the man; he was at home in San Diego where he settled 22 years ago to ‘escape the winters.’

Bob Cary – Part One; Turning Pro for Peter Post’s Raleigh Squad

In Peter Post's TI-Raleigh squad everything mattered; the bikes had to be the best, the clothing had to look the most stylish and fit properly, the cars had to look stunning. Winning was everything. Post was completely in charge and German ‘Golden Boy’ Dietrich Thurau was on board but still with a smattering of GB riders. By 1976 the team had gone ‘total Euro’ save for two names, Dave Lloyd and one Bob Cary. We spoke to Bob to hear his story.

Graham Briggs – First British Winner of the Tour du Loir-et-Cher

As Sky and Cav grab the headlines in the pre-Tour roster debates and the ‘glamour races' as VeloVeritas sage and soothsayer Viktor would describe them, the ‘real’ world of cycling – without which there would be no top tier – carries on. It may be lost in the chat about Brad’s ambitions for this July or the Team Pursuit in two years' time and that dodgy Italian Viviani having the nerve to beat Cav a couple of times; but those Rapha Condor JLT boys just get on with the job.

At Random

That was La Vuelta 2009 – What’s Next?

The Vuelta has finished, so has the Tour of Britain, the Worlds are this weekend, the crosses have started and there's a nip in the air in the mornings - autumn is here. My favourite time of the year: in Scotland it rains less, the skies are blue, the air is fresh and leaves are so beautiful as they turn.

Michele Scarponi

Michele Scarponi took fourth on GC at the Tour of the Alps this week and it was a shock to all when word came of his being fatally struck by an Iveco van on an early morning training ride just one kilometre from his home in Filottrano. To Michele Scarponi’s wife, Anna and twin boys Giacomo and Tomamaso, his extended family, friends, fans and team mates we extend our deepest sympathies. Rest in peace, Michele we’re going to miss you.

Rotterdam Six Day 2011 – Day Four, No Windows, No Clocks

The theme from 'Star Wars' plays as the U23 riders victory ceremony gets underway - not long 'til the lunch time kick off. I haven't seen much of the U23 event, the riders don't share the area we're in and when their racing is on I'm usually busy getting our cabin set up. There's more of that confusing team changing thing going on again - Terpstra is now with Lampater who was with Stroetinga until he crashed.

Le Tour de France 2015 – Stage 21; Sèvres – Paris Champs-Élysées

When we spoke to Cav's personal soigneur, Aldis half way through the stage we knew it wasn't to be; 'And Mark, today ?' Aldis screwed up his face; 'he's a little sick...' So 4:1 to Greipel - and the rumours about Cav having to learn to understand Brian Smith's accent at MTN get ever stronger. We changed our system and didn't drive race route for the last stage; instead we drove straight to the digs, got organised, had a shower and headed off across a wet Paris to the finish circuit.

Moreno De Pauw – from the Blue Train to the Blue Line

There’ll be a popular name missing from the Six Day lap boards come the winter of 2020/21, that of Belgium’s Moreno De Pauw, at just 28 years-of-age he’s decided to call ‘time’ on his career and join the police. Over the years he’s been a prolific collector of championship medals – 28 Belgian titles and too many Belgian championship silvers and bronzes for us – or him - to keep track of.

Double Challenge: TdF 2010 Stage 8 (mountaintop)

Double Challenge. Mountain stages in bike races are inevitably decisive in sorting where riders finish in the race overall. They pose a number of challenges to a team atop the obvious physical barrier of the terrain itself.