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Brit Scott Thwaites has announced he will be stepping down to Continental level after parting ways with Dimension Data.
The 28-year-old has joined British team Vitus Pro Cycling after spending two years at WorldTour level.
Thwaites, from Steeton in West Yorkshire, recently revealed he had considered retirement after a serious spinal fracture derailed his 2018 season.
But instead he will return to the British racing circuit, where he will try to capitalise on his previous Grand Tour and Monument experience.
Vitus team boss Cherie Pridham said: “I’m delighted to welcome Scott to Vitus Pro Cycling.
“Strength-in-depth is the defining characteristic of our 2019 squad, and Scott embodies the unwavering standards demanded of a top professional.”
Thwaites has first started racing for Pridham back in 2006, before he went onto to ride at the highest level in 2017 and 2018.
During his time at the top tier, Thwaites rode the Tour de France alongside compatriot and team-mate Mark Cavendish, and was beginning to make waves in the Classics.
In 2017, Thwaites finished 10th at Strade Bianche, and 16th at the Tour of Flanders.
But a crash in March 2018, that left him with several fractured vertebrae, took him out of racing for four months.
He was able to return to the peloton with Dimension Data, but in December he revealed he was considering his opportunities outside cycling.
Thwaites has instead opted to return to the domestic circuit, where he previously honed his skills with the Endura Racing team between 2010 and 2012.
Pridham added: “It was a pleasure to work with Scott when he was still an emerging talent with obvious potential, and now he has completed nine years as a professional, it’s very satisfying to be working with him again.
“A rider strong enough to finish two Grand Tours and nine Classics can only be a significant addition to our squad.”
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Vitus Pro Cycling said they expect Thwaites to be an inspiration to younger riders on the team.
He joins a powerful line up of talent, including youngsters Liam Davies and Tim Torrie, as well as Commonwealth Games medallist Chris Latham and British Cycling Academy graduates Joe Holt and Ali Slater.
Multiple Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy will also be joining Vitus for 2019 after the collapse of the long-standing JLT – Condor outfit.
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