In a head to head sprint, Mark Cavendish is arguably a faster finisher than Adam Blythe' but it was the Tinkoff rider raising his arms in triumph at the conclusion of the British national road race in Stockton-on-Tees. Coming into the sprint finish, Blythe was part of a 14-man front group having been part of a four-man breakaway for the majority of the 201km race but had enough left in the tank to overcome Cavendish on the slightly uphill drag of a finish and pump the air in celebration.
"I'm so chuffed - it feels great to have won the jersey. It was a long day really, from 70km out there were four of us tapping through and when we entered the circuit the gap wasn't that big. After it came back together behind I just sat in and saved what I could for the sprint. I never knew I was going to get it but I never thought I wouldn't as well, I just gave it my all and crossed the line first," said Blythe of his first win in Tinkoff colours.
Blythe was the only Tinkoff starter in the race and explained that without any support, he needed to make his move at the right time and safe as much energy as possible.
"Not having any teammates in the race meant it was all about selecting the right move. The circuit wasn't too difficult so it was all about timing, only attacking when it was worth attacking," he added.
Describing his win as his best yet, Blythe added that he is looking forward to being fully kitted out with his new national kit with a bike to match.
"I'm looking forward to the getting the new white kit now! It’s the highlight of my career so far. I just want to get the jersey and all the kit to go with it – white shorts, white bike…," added Blythe who will debut his new jersey at the RideLondon-Surrey Classic.
Blythe, who previously rode with WorldTour teams Omega Pharma-Lotto, BMC Racing and Orica-GreenEdge prior to joining Tinkoff, last raised his arms in 2014 when he won the Prudential RideLondon Classic and National Circuit Race. The 26-year-old's first year in the professional peloton was his most successful yet as he won two stages and the overall at Circuit Franco-Belge and Nationale Sluitingprijs Putte - Kapellen. With a winless 2011, Blythe bounced back with the first stage of Paris-Corrèze and Binche-Tournai-Binche in 2012.
After two seasons with BMC, Blythe moved to Continental squad NFTO in 2014, returning to the WorldTour last season with Orica-GreenEdge where he was a key rider in Caleb Ewan's sprint train.