In 2017, Miles Scotson becomes the newest addition to the growing list of Australian riders in the WorldTour with BMC Racing having signed a two-year deal with the "ultimate team". The 22-year-old was a stagiaire with Wanty-Groupe Gobert from August 1 this year and was thinking he would be spending the 2017 season with the Belgian Pro-Continental team.
"The team time trial is definitely an event I have always been quite strong in and technically pretty good in as well from the track. They take that super seriously as well. That was a reason for me to go there and for them, maybe a reason they wanted to sign me," Scotson told Cyclingnews of the move to the 'ultimate team' for his characteristics and aims. "Hopefully, I can keep performing in the team time trial and it would be nice, if it is next year or the year after, to make the team at the world championships."
Scotson has balanced a road and track programme over the last few seasons and was aiming to make his Olympic Games debut in the team pursuit in 2016. It was in Rio that a conversation with Peiper helped Scotson first get more racing in his legs, then secure his contract.
"Allan had been following my progression for the last 18-months or so and he saw this year that I missed a large chunk of the road season concentrating on track and I didn't quite make the team there," said Scotson who also rode for Team Illuminate this season. "I think it was more trying to help me out at first and he helped get me over to Europe and get me racing on the road, which I ended up doing with Wanty Groupe Gobert. We had a good chat while I was in Rio that I needed to get over to Europe, get racing and originally I was going to put all my energy into racing the world championships but racing with Wanty was another pathway if I performed well there.
"I did enough to interest BMC and they were good with a bit of support from them leading into Worlds and then I got two solid time trial results. It was tough like it is getting into all teams but I did enough for them to offer me a two-year deal."
Scotson's 2017 race programme will become clearer at BMC's Dénia team camp next month when he sits down with staff for the first time, and plans his targets and ambitions. Early indications for his first neo-pro season are an Australian start to the year with the national championships, then the Tour Down Under in his home city of Adelaide before a spring classics campaign.
Having won an U23 national time trial title on the Buninyong course that Dennis and Porte went one-two one this year, an all BMC podium could be possible on January 5. However, aware of the long season ahead, Scotson is looking to Belgium for his first goals of the new year.
"If I am doing the time trial and road race at nationals, obviously it will be important for me as I always want to go there and give it my all but with it being my first pro season I probably won't go there in flying form because I don't think I have raced a full season on the road, which I will do from February through to September next year. I'll listen to the team and be patient," he said of his early-season aim.
"I believe I will be doing some of the classics at the start of the year and the aim for me would be to make a big classic in my first year would be great for my development," said Scotson who will be basing himself in Belgium. "If I am racing those Belgian races at the start of the year I think it is so important to be over there, riding over the courses before the races each week as it's a massive advantage knowing the roads and the weather."
Another aim in 2017 for Scotson is to learn as much as possible from Dennis and Porte against the clock and continue to improve his time trailing.
Putting away the track bike
Part of the team pursuit squad for Rio, Scotson was a reserve for the games while younger brother Callum made the cut as Australia won the silver medal in the team pursuit. Scotson, a two-time team pursuit world champion, will be hanging up the track bike for season 2017 but hasn't ruled out a return to the velodrome in the quest for gold in Tokyo.
"For now, with BMC placing faith in me and giving me a contract, I have to be 100% for the road over the next 12-months so I am really giving myself every opportunity to step up and deliver," he said. "Down the track, I am not writing off Tokyo 2020 because I don't think I can step away from Rio and not riding in the kind of form I was in with nothing. It would maybe be something I would look back on at the end of my career and wish I had gone again to get the gold medal or a medal. I just have to give myself a second chance."
As Bradley Wiggins proved in Rio, age is no barrier as he won gold at 36 with the Great Britain team pursuit squad. However, Scotson isn't anticipating riding the track in 14 years with Tokyo to be all or nothing with the road his long term focus.
"I'll be 26 at the next games and for a road rider that is relatively young. I think it's the perfect stage for the team pursuit really and we won gold there, I think I would step away and focus on the road for as long as I want," he said. Which would be a great thing to do. If I go back to the track for the team pursuit, it will be 2020 or never."