Having ridden his first Tour de France in July, Paddy Bevin is now readying for his elite world championships debut this weekend in Bergen, Noway. The Cannondale-Drapac rider has ridden on the track for New Zealand at events such as the Commonwealth Games but the Bergen Worlds is his on the road.
The 26-year-old broke his foot on stage 1 of the Tour but rode through to finish in Paris. After a month off the bike, an injury-free Bevin rode the Cyclassics Hamburg and GP Ouest France-Plouay to get into racing rhythm. A week later at the Tour of Britain, a ninth place and two 11th places suggested Bevin was getting back to his best ahead of the Worlds.
"After breaking my foot I was down a bit of power in the sprints. I was in good position but not really able to capitalise on that," Bevin told Cyclingnews from Bergen. "It was a building block towards Worlds and it was good to be there racing but I was a little bit off the pace."
In May, Bevin finished sixth at the Tour of Norway with three top-ten results. While his results suggest Bevin's characteristics are suited to the Bergen parcours, he explained he is simply excited to be making his Worlds debut. Regardless of location.
"I enjoyed Norway and I enjoy racing here and it's cool to come back and race Worlds," he said. "It is actually my first elite world elite, my first worlds since juniors in about 2008 so I am a bit green when it comes to world championships road races. I'm taking it as a big one-day race and looking to enjoy racing a world championship because it is something you don't get to do at the best of times. As my first, it is really exciting."
Joining Bevin for the 267.5km race on Sunday in the Kiwi race kit are Jack Bauer and Dion Smith. While small, it's a squad of quality and with the recent example of Peter Sagan winning a Worlds title with two teammates, Bevin believes the New Zealanders can spring a surprise.
"I don't think having three riders is any disadvantage for the riders that we have here at all," he said. "At the end of the day, it is a bike race that doesn't have the same politics that dictate a lot of what goes on and a lot of guys from small teams have won it before. In some ways, I believe it will be an advantage because you look at the some of the bigger teams and they have to pick up a lot of the slack. Whereas no one is looking at New Zealand to chase anything back. We are here to race to win and obviously having three riders, you have to be smart about what you do and using energy to fix mistakes isn't one of those things."
Adding that the weather "could have a big influence on the outcome of this race," Bevin is aiming to conserve as much energy as possible, ride a smart race and be there in the finale flying the flag for New Zealand.
"Very pragmatically, you want to do the best that you can and in a lot of ways like I've said, the race is a lot simpler for us and if you're good enough you go the distance and race your bike to win," he said of his expectation fot the race. "Come Sunday, it will be nice to have been part of that race in the final and see where you're at. Obviously I don't have a lot of experience, I have some teammates with more experience than me, but personally, I would love to be there when the crunch happens and see how the cards fall."