With a record third straight U23 national Australian time trial title in his pocket, Callum Scotson's bid for a 2019 professional contract is underway. The 21-year-old spent the 'off-season' racing on the track, primarily with Cameron Meyer, and will continue to combine the two disciplines with the dual ambition of a WorldTour contract and Olympic Madison gold medal in Tokyo in 2020.
Scotson was a member of the Australian team pursuit squad that claimed silver at the Rio Olympic games in 2016 and he has since remained committed to the track. Although the Madison has become his event of choice in the velodrome, stints with the Illuminate Continental team, then the BMC Development team, and this year Mitchelton-Scott's development team, Mitchelton-BikeExchange, has ensured a healthy quota of road days.
Having combined track and road since day one of his cycling career, Scotson sees no need to change in order to achieve his goals. Success in both disciplines is assisting his cause.
"It takes a fair bit of discipline, work and planning around it," Scotson said of handling a track and road programme.
"So far, I think I have managed it pretty well and the thought of doing another Olympic Games is really big in my mind. But then, immediately I also need to get results to move into the professional ranks, which is a bit of a dream of mine. I am trying to mix both and I would love to keep doing the track and make the Olympic Games and try to find myself on the pro stage."
Scotson's regular Madison partner Meyer is 'exhibit A' for the Adelaide local when it comes to managing the demands of both. Meyer is an eight-time world champion on the track, two-time national time trial champion, and also has overall Tour Down Under and Herald Sun Tour wins on his palmares.
"He has been a big inspiration for me in the last couple of years," Scotson said.
"He certainly shows me how well you can balance the road and the track and you can really make it to the top in both. It requires a lot of discipline and hard work. He has done a good job so far of guiding me along and showing me his experiences and it has been really good for me."
Heading to Belgium
This coming weekend, both riders will line out for the Australian road race for their respective teams in search of a thus far, illusive green and gold jersey. A win for Scotson would further demonstrate his capabilities on the road and provide further evidence of his pedigree with 22 gears at his disposal.
In 2017 Scotson made his WorldTour racing debut on the UniSA-Australia wild card team at the Tour Down Under. A win or performance of note in the road race could again seal a place in the squad but as it stands, Scotson is unsure if it would be the best decision. A busy upcoming track schedule, including the track World Championships, were he and Meyer make up half the Australian squad, follow in late February.
"I've Not really decided yet. I'll have to talk with the coach and see what is the best plan," he said succinctly.
A full road programme post-track World Championships is planned because the Madison is not included on the track programme at April's Commonwealth Games. It is in Europe where Scotson will further press his claims for a professional contract.
"I decided that I would like to go to Europe following track Worlds and really try and have as much chance to get the results I need to move into the professionals as possible," he said.
"I know this year, being my last U23 year, is probably the best chance to do it. It gets a bit harder after that."
Living in Belgium with brother Miles in 2017, Scotson became further entranced with the cobbles, weather and history of the cycling mad country.
"I think it suits me quite well," he said of the cobbled Classics.
"My track background for starters, you build that power and strength you need and then always suits time trialist, medium weight riders and I love the long races," he said. "The cold weather, the rain, I just really love that kind of racing. I would love to get another experience there again and in the future they are the races I really look forward to."
Given his love for the cobbles, he asked whether he would prefer a Tour of Flanders or Olympic gold medal, Scotson's answer for now was the latter. At 21, a career on the cobbles can wait, with the chance of redemption for Rio the more tantalising option.
"I think I will go for Olympic gold for now. Just with where I am at the moment. I see that as being closer to being possible," he said.
"Tour of Flanders is very much luck of the draw and you have to do a lot of work to get there. I would say Olympic gold because I can see it there, it wouldn't be easy, but there is the possibility of it in a few years."