Scott Thwaites is heading towards the classics this spring with a new enthusiasm, and encouragement from new Dimension Data team-mate Mark Cavendish.
“It’s good, he’s a great guy,” Thwaites told Cycling Weekly ahead of Tirreno-Adriatico stage two.
“Rooming with him is great, you pick up so many small bits just through conversation. He’s just a great guy to motivate you for races. Obviously, these are all big races, WorldTour races and he’s trying to push me to improve myself so I have the confidence to go for results in these bigger races.”
The Yorkshireman spoke quietly outside the team bus in Tirreno-Adriatico in Italy. Behind him, one by one, his team-mates including Cavendish lifted their bike from the stand and rode to sign-in for stage two.
Thwaites has raced the last seven seasons for Bora/Endura, which was then a UCI Professional Continental team. He signed with Doug Ryder’s South African Dimension Data team over the winter, which means the ability to concentrate more on the big one-day races.
With the idea that he may race Milan-San Remo for the first time next Saturday, the team invited him along with Cavendish and Edvald Boasson Hagen to preview the Cipressa and Poggio climbs leading to seaside finish.
“He’s giving me little tips on how to ride in the group, saving energy. Like riding in San Remo: what to look for and when to move, and things like that. It’s all little bits of knowledge that help you save energy during the day,” he explained.
“He knows the roads, the descents, the corners, and everything like that, because that’s where it can often split more than on the climbs.”
Dimension Data’s Rolf Aldag and Roger Hammond have yet to give him the green light, but Thwaites could race Milan-San Remo and in the northern classics like Ghent-Wevelgem, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
Last year, he placed eighth in Dwars door Vlaanderen and 20th in the Tour of Flanders.
This year, he already signalled his intentions by clawing his way back through Strade Bianche’s gravel sectors after a crash and placing 10th in Siena.
“I feel that that was a nice start and it was good to get a decent result in early to take some of the pressure off. It does give you confidence, especially the way I rode, I felt strong and started to come through a bit towards the end of the race,” the 27-year-old added.
“It’s obviously a bit shorter than the main classics, but it was nice to have some strength left at the end and pull through. I hope that that helps for the next few races.”