Victory in the Australian national road race by a matter of mere meters, courtesy of a daring solo attack, ensures that Miles Scotson will only spend two days this season in regulation BMC team kit. The 22-year-old's debut for the WorldTour team was one akin to a Hollywood script as he came into the race unsure of his ability to even finish, yet finished off the race with a move that suggested he was a seasoned and experienced professional.
Speaking with Cyclingnews ahead of the race, Scotson explained: "If I was there at the end, I would just race as hard as I can." Renowned for his time trialling ability, Scotson was unfamiliar with the elite level of racing on the Buininyong circuit but, as an Under-23 winner in 2015, he came into the race knowing what it took to win. The victory sees Scotson join Jack Bobridge and Simon Gerrans as the only Australian men to win both the U23 and elite titles.
Thursday's time trial was Scotson's first in BMC colours, coming just a few hours after younger brother Callum defended his U23 time trial in his new BMC Development kit. Finishing fifth in his first time trial over 40km was a result he was "pretty happy with" as Rohan Dennis stormed to a second straight win.
While BMC has entered the road race before with Cadel Evans and Richie Porte as overwhelming favourites, Scotson's ambition for the race was to get some racing in the legs and bank some experience for the years to come. Instead, he became the most unlikely of BMC's Australians to take the victory and ensure the team holds both the road and time trial jerseys for the next 12 months.
"I rode the course last night after the U23 race and thought it would be so good to win this national title one day. Then I thought they will probably move the course eventually so I was like next year I have to go really hard for it. Then today it was nothing to lose and I had a good day and everything came together," Scotson said of the win.
"I wasn't overly happy with the time trial but Callum and Rohan killed it and I really stepped up today and I'm super proud that I could get a result and sort of a payback to the team for giving me an opportunity."
Scotson's first race in the green and gold jersey will come next week on home soil in Adelaide at the WorldTour-level Tour Down Under stage race. The former track rider, who was Australia's reserve in the team pursuit for the Rio Olympic Games, is aiming to develop into a Classics rider, and explained that he welcomes the challenge and added attention that wearing the national champion's jersey will bring in his first year racing as a professional.
"To be racing in the national champion's jersey this year is going to be a big jump. There is maybe a bit of pressure and I am not sure how this season is going to go and whether I can handle it. Now I am going to stand out so it's time to lift my game. It is a major opportunity to be racing for a team like BMC," said Scotson, who will be basing himself in Belgium for the year.
"I am a young guy in the team trying to find my way. I think there could be a lot of changes but I hope to target the Classics. Not so much results but just to do my best and support the team. It is going to be hard but the early-season goal is Classics-style racing and some one-week tours through the year. I am looking to learn and it is going to be a big jump. I only did 20 something race days on the road in 2016 and it is a big year ahead."