Only a late mechanical problem has stopped Blythe from finishing in the small lead groups in the race’s two stages, and he placed seventh yesterday afternoon in the windswept Al Khor Corniche having made the cut in every notable split.
The new Orica-GreenEdge recruit has form in the desert: he placed fourth overall in Qatar in 2013, and 10th a year prior to that.
“The main reason I came here and [the Tour of] Oman is to get more in my legs each race and build-up for the next few months,” said the 25-year-old after stage two.
“I’m annoyed with the sprint [yesterday], I wanted to do more but I didn’t have anything in the legs. It was a case of sitting down and carrying on.
“Then again, I haven’t done much sprint work this winter – I’ve mainly done base work, as I didn’t race many days last year. I’ve not really done 187km of racing at 50kph for a long time, either.”
Conditions are forecast to be windy for the remaining days of the race, and although Friday’s final stage along Doha’s Corniche traditionally ends in a bunch gallop, Blythe didn’t tip himself for an even more notable result than yesterday’s.
“Doing a sprint like that [yesterday] from a small group is easier than a big bunch sprint when there are lead-outs going,” he added.
“If I rolled in seventh here, I may struggle in the big sprints. It’s something to work on, I guess.”