Adam Blythe returned to the WorldTour with Lotto-Soudal in 2019, and to leading out Caleb Ewan, having fought in the lower ranks and for a job last year.
“It’s a massive change from Aqua Blue,” Blythe told Cycling Weekly ahead of stage two. “I’ve been in a few WorldTour teams in my time and it’s nice to be back with the big boys.”
Blythe began with Lotto as a trainee in 2009 and raced for BMC Racing, Orica-GreenEdge and Tinkoff. The last two years, he was with Professional Continental team Aqua Blue Sport fighting for invitations to the big races. The 29-year-old noted the changes, one being that he no longer uses the 3T single chainring bike.
“It’s completely different, the racing’s the racing, it’s always the same, but here we have two chainrings instead of one, which is always good,” he continued.
“It’s nice to back in the WorldTour which is a lot more as you’d expect to be. Last year, it wasn’t the races that was the problem, but everything around the races, where we stayed and these kind of things that made it difficult.”
Aqua Blue surprised its riders in August with news that the team would fold immediately and left them searching for new jobs.
“I was stressed, I was planning on stopping cycling if I didn’t have anything by mid October,” added Blythe.
“I was definitely stressed about it. It all came good in the end and back in Lotto where I started, so it’s good.
“You get a lot clearer picture on what you’re doing than in the last couple of years. It’s nice to be back in a professional setup.”
Blythe won a handful of races with Lotto when he rode for them through 2011. Recently, though, he has been helping others. In his year with Orica, now Mitchelton-Scott, he paired with sprinter Caleb Ewan.
Ewan joined Lotto this 2019 season to get his chance to race the Tour de France after missing out in Mitchelton, which focused on the Yates twins and Grand Tours.
“He’s still young, so I think he still has his best years ahead of him but he can definitely win and definitely win here,” Blythe added.
“It’s quite exciting, [Team Lotto] changed quite a lot since I was last here. It’s definitely exciting, for Caleb a new setup and still sort of finding his feet a little in the team. He’s had a good start, but disqualified after his win in Australia [regulated to the back of the pack in the Tour Down Under]. We will try to get another one here, for sure.”
Blythe will have his opportunities in a few of the one-day Belgium races or in other events if an opportunity comes up along the way.
“The main focus is to help Caleb win,” he said.
“For me, racing and bike riding is getting a lot harder and everything is a lot more technical, so you have to be on top of your game all the time. There’s no being bad and then being good, you have to be good constantly. As long as we can do well, make the most of racing, me for sure, just doing a good job in every race I do, then that’s good enough.”