Rider Chat – Classics Rider Scott Thwaites


Winner of British Classic Lincoln GP, Scott Thwaites has his sights on the RideLondon Classic after Spring classic success

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Rider Chat – Classics Rider Scott Thwaites

In 2014, RideLondon Surrey Classic was, just as the name suggests, a classic race in the same style as the Spring Classics that the fans and riders love every year. At the end of the 200 kilometres, only a small group of classics riders remained and for 2015, a rider to watch out for is Scott Thwaites.


Winner already of a British Classic, the Lincoln GP, Scott Thwaites has his sights on the RideLondon Classic after Spring Classic success. Scott will be in the black colours of Team Bora-Argon 18 and has a season where he has made more progress in the classics and after the showing in the British championships a month ago where he was 5th, he’ll be well equipped for RideLondon.

VeloUK caught up with Scott a little while ago to talk about his season where he says he had a good classics season. “I was a little bit stronger than last year and this year I rode the full Spring Classics season with all the big races at the end (Tour of Flanders, Gent Wevelgem and Paris Roubaix).

Scott_Thwaites2“I was still going well at the end which shows I am getting stronger” Scott added.

“I didn’t get a win which was disappointing because I am still searching for the win but I was on the podium (Nokere Koerse, UCI 1.1) and had some top tens (two in UCI 1.1s) and that’s good for when the team come back to you at the end of the year and I can show I got some results for them.”

“I went quite well in some of the bigger classics, top 20 (17th) in Wevelgem which was a big day out where only the hardmen survived so to be there was good and I was happy with that. In general, it’s been a good season and the classics are what I want to do in the future so I need to keep chipping away.”

Scott is still only 25 but is aware that to well in the classics you need to have been doing them for a while. “The classics are not the sort of races where you can turn up as a young rider and instantly be up there” he explains.

“It takes years as we’ve seen with ‘G’ and Stannard. It’s only the last few years they have been mixing it at the front so I think my time will come.”

Asked what he has learned from doing the classics like Flanders, Wevelgem and Roubaix, he replies “I think the experience of learning not to stress. It’s the people who have the most left in their legs at the end that do well and so it’s about conserving as much energy at the start without putting yourself out of the race and staying there or thereabouts”.

“Keeping the energy there for when you need it at the end and it kicks off. That’s’ mainly what I have learnt the last few years riding the WorldTour races. Before, if there was a small split in the bunch, I’d be straight on it chasing it down and using all my energy. Now I’m a bit more relaxed and let some others do the work or contribute a little but not commit fully”.


Scott, who won a crit at Skipton during his break from racing, explained how in the longer WorldTour races, he’s getting stronger and surviving better deeper into the big classics which is helping him achieve his goal of getting to the finish in the front group. That will be his goal on Sunday.

One of his highlights this year was in Paris-Roubaix. “I went quite well in that race” he told VeloUK. “I punctured three times and you can’t afford to do that in a race like that but just doing those races that you have always wanted to do, and riding with the top boys and learning the ropes, is good for the future”.

“I’m enjoying being able to do these races.”

“It was my first Roubaix and I didn’t know how to play it so I stayed close to the front at the start and the break took a long time to go. I think it was 60k, so I was there or thereabouts, maybe looking to slip into a move because that allows you to get quite deep into the race before you are caught.”

“ I never managed to do that as I didn’t want to expend too much energy trying to get in the break and it calmed down for 30 k or so before we were into the cobbles and fighting for position. The main thing I learnt was how hard it was to move up before that first section of cobbles”.



“The road is totally blocked and you can’t get anywhere. But once you start going over the cobbles, riders start crashing and puncturing and the race starts to open up. If you have the legs, you can move into the right position”.

“I punctured on about the fourth sector but luckily the race wasn’t really ‘on’ at that point so I was able to get a wheel and chase back on”.

“Then I got to the front and stayed there while more and more riders were puncturing and going out the back. I was pretty happy until 50k to go when I had another puncture and at that point, there was no chance of getting back as I had to wait such a long time for service. By the time I got a wheel , there were just small groups in front. I just ended up getting in a group and rode in from there.”

“With the good legs I had, it would have been nice to see how far I could have got without the puncture because there were only 50 or so riders left by then”.

Scott added that because of that second puncture, he was able to take in the atmosphere of the race, the crowds and so on. “Being my first Roubaix, I was focused on trying to take everything in, on how everyone was riding but then once I was out of the race after the punctures, the last seven or eight sectors, it was nice to see the crowds and ride the sectors not having to stress about the race”.

And then in typical Yorkshire style, Scott just waved away the pain endured in such a tough race. “The hands, around the knuckles, were sore afterwards for a few days but that’s the beauty of Roubaix, you know you’ve done a proper race! It was a tough day out but it was the end of the classics season and I was able to have a rest afterwards”.

Tour de France
Being from Yorkshire which has such a connection with the Tour de France after its Grand Departe, one question he gets is was he bothered not being selected for the Tour de France?

“I would obviously like to do the Tour de France at some point in my career but with the team focusing on the classics and the Tour, it’s very difficult to be a rider that does both because the team is split from the start of the year; the guys who are going to the Tour and the guys for the Classics”.

“There are only one or two riders that swap over and they tend to be the domestiques, the workers who can do both jobs. For me, I’m going for a result in the Classics so I have got to specialise in that so it’s really difficult to recover well and lose a load of weight to go to the Tour”.


Above: A win in July in the Skipton GP from Velo29Events

“Ideally, I’d like to ride the Vuelta. For me, that would be ideal, to do the Classics, have a rest and then train up for the Vuelta because ultimately I’d like to do a Grand Tour fairly soon to get the strength in the legs because I think that would benefit my classics riding”.

Prior to RideLondon, Scott has had the month of July off so should have fresh legs ready to rip it up on Sunday. He explained that whilst the Tour de France is on, there is no racing so other than his own training and a training camp in Germany, there is not much happening.

He will, he says, make up for that in August and September. “I have a busy end to the season with stage races in Denmark and Czech and then a World Tour race before I’m hoping to go Canada and ride in Alberta, Montreal and Quebec as we have a Canadian co-sponsor with the bikes.”

“Ultimately, the Worlds is a big goal as it’s a course where I think I could do a good job for the team leader. I think I had a good showing at the nationals (5th) and was up there with the leaders so I’d like to go to the Worlds. I have never done an Elite Worlds, only the under 23 so it would be nice to be part of the team”.

Looking into the future, he’s confident of his place in the team saying “year by year, I am getting more recognised by the team and getting more freedom to go for the results. I am making small steps forward and am consistent which helps give them a reason for keeping me in the team to help me develop for the future”.

Good luck to Scott in Ride London

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