2015 New Zealand national time trial champion Paddy Bevin had set himself the goal of claiming a second silver fern jersey to start his BMC Racing Team career. A crash on the eve of nationals in early-January ruled him out of the race but time trialing remains a major ambition in 2018 for the 26-year-old.
The "cosmetic injury" also saw Bevin skip the road race to ensure he in his top shape for his debut in red and black at the Tour Down Under next week.
"Part of the allure of coming to BMC was their time trial programme and something I want to be a part of," Bevin told Cyclingnews in Adelaide. "Nationals were a great way to kick that off so that obviously was disappointing. At the end of the day, that is part of the sport and it happened but we put it behind us and move on."
Bevin moved across to BMC after two seasons with the Cannondale-Drapac. As the team's sponsorship came into question, Bevin joined teammate Alberto Bettiol in signing with BMC. Inking a one-year deal, Bevin is again in a contract year but believes he is in the right environment to get the best out his abilities. Starting at the Tour Down Under, BMC line out as favourites for a third ochre jersey in four years.
"It is exciting to come to BMC with their big riders and be part of that programme," he said. "Ultimately BMC is about winning bike races, it is about having guys win the biggest races in the world and win every race they go to. I love that attitude where every race counts, every point counts and you want to get on with the job."
At the Tour Down Under, Bevin will be "doing whatever I can for the guys for as long as I can". He then turns his attention the Ardennes and a Giro d'Italia debut, ruling out a start in the Commonwealth Games.
"The first big goal for me is going to come at the Giro. I would like to have a good performance in that opening time trial and the last time trial," said Bevin. "It is the first time I have had the chance to really build up and have a race as a goal quite far out. We are building towards that at the moment and it is part of the crux of the first part of my season, to come through the Ardennes into the Giro. "
Time trialling focus
During his two years with Cannondale-Drapac, Bevin rode just 10 time trials. One those being stage 1 of the Tour de France where he crashed and broke his foot but was able to finish in Paris three weeks later.
At BMC, Bevin is again looking to again make the race against the clock one of his goals, including the Giro opener against the clock in Jerusalem. Toward that end, he's done specific work in the off-season to get comfortable on his new equipment.
"The first thing we did was to have a track day at the end of last season to get used to the bike and position and do some aerodynamic work," he said. "The BMC Timemachine is a pretty cool piece of kit and I would be lying if I didn't say that swayed the call to come. You start to look at the results and see guys filling the results sheet and you want to be a part of that.
"It is a step up, it was a bit lacking at Cannondale and I think if you want to excel in time trials the details are really so important and you can't leave anything at all out there," he added. "It is one thing this team has done well. They have a really good group of technical support with the time trial and time trial training and I am hoping to utilise that as best as I can."
In Rohan Dennis and Stefan Küng, BMC has two of the top time trailers in the current peloton, along with a number of other accomplished riders. Of his new teammates, Dennis is one rider that Bevin "will pick his brains when the time comes" for time trial tips.
While Bevin is likely to be riding more individual than team time trials, the latter is an event he wants to further explore. BMC's two team time trial world titles were another reason for him to make the switch.
"There is a list of guys in this team who can ride a very good time trial. Sometimes it looks like if you want to win the race, it is your teammates who you have to beat," he said. "It is not motivating in that sense but it is good to have the time trial as such an important aspect. It brings you up, you know that you have to perform. This team has been very good in the team time trial and that is something I am hoping to do more of. I feel like my skill set slots straight into a team time trial and once again it is an integral part of the team."