British national road champion Adam Blythe is hopeful that a strong end to his 2016 season will earn him a slot on the Worlds team and a new WorldTour contract for next season.
"I want to go well at the Worlds this year. It's not really a slow build up but I'm progressing towards that. I think I'm going all right but I'm not firing on all cylinders just yet," the 26-year-old told Cyclingnews at the start of the Tour of Britain.
Blythe is on a 15-rider long list and with Mark Cavendish set to lead the British squad on the flat course in and around Doha. The the Great Britain national selectors are looking for riders who can control a peloton and lead out their sprint star. Although the course is flat, as it was in Copenhagen in 2011 when Cavendish won his world road title, there are several unpredictable elements selectors will need to consider. Cross-winds, the Worlds having a later date than normal, and the more competitive sprinting field than five years ago all spring to mind.
Although uncertain of what is potential role could be in Doha, Blythe would naturally fit into a Cavendish lead out train and having worked for riders such as Philippe Gilbert and Peter Sagan during his career he can also shepherd leaders through latter stages of one-day races.
"I don't know what my role could be to be honest. Obviously I've done Qatar quite a few times and I'm not bad there. I guess I'd be keeping out of the wind and keeping Mark out of trouble until as late as possible but a lot depends on the dynamic of the race and how I'll be used later on rather than earlier."
Blythe has never ridden a World Championships at elite level on the road and the glut of high-level British riders on the circuit suggests that selection will be a tough but not impossible order. A few years ago the national selectors might haven scratching their heads when putting together a leadout for Cavendish but a new wave of options has arrived.
"There's a few who could do it and there's more than you think now," Blythe said.
"There's Dan McLay, there's me, Scott Thwaites, Ben Swift and a few others kicking around who can do a lead out for him. I guess it's about finding the right kind of rider to do it."
If Blythe can pick up for and provide selectors with some top results in the coming weeks it will not only give his chances of Worlds selection a boost but also help him secure a new contract for 2017.
With the Tinkoff team disbanding in just a few months, Blythe is still without a team for next season. He and his agent, Andrew McQuaid, are still looking at their options.
"I'm still looking for a contract. Hopefully WorldTour but you never know. If the Pro Conti team was at the right level and had the right programme then there's no reason why not too. I'm just looking for opportunities and a place where I can get the best out off myself."
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