Britain’s Adam Blythe confirmed this morning to Cycling Weekly that he will race his first Tour of Flanders Sunday in support Omega Pharma-Lotto team-mate Philippe Gilbert.
“I’ve just been told I’m doing Flanders,” he said. “I will be there working for Phil, to keep him out of trouble and sit at the front in the first half of the race.”
The 20-year-old from Sheffield began racing for Omega Pharma this year, but spent the last year with its feeder team Davo and had plenty of opportunities to ride the Tour of Flanders climbs in other races.
“I know them pretty well and I am recognising the roads. It helps also to have the managers in the radio telling us when we need to get to the front, but it also helps to know the climbs and where you need to be.
“They are all hard. The Koppenberg is the hardest, also the Oude Kwaremont. What is hard is the fight to be at the front before the climb, you can’t sit back and relax at any point.
“If Phil can get up there then it is great for the team. I am obviously not going to win these races because I am still young, but it is good that I can be apart of the help for Phil.”
Last year, ‘Phil’ Gilbert won Paris-Tours and the Tour of Lombardy, and finished third at the Tour of Flanders. He appears to be a little behind in form, maybe suited better to the Ardennes Classics in two weeks, but Blythe believes he can also win Flanders.
Blythe, who lives in a Ramsel, Belgium, with his girlfriend, will also race the Paris-Roubaix next Sunday in France. This week, he is racing The Three Days of De Panne, where today he is in an escape of 12 with Gilbert.