It was more a matter of where rather than when regarding Paddy Bevin's elevation to the WorldTour in 2016. 12-months ago the New Zealander was about to embark on a run of form that has shown no sign of slowing down. Riding for the National Road Series search2retain p/b health.com.au team, Bevin took overall wins at the National Capital Tour and the Tour of Tasmania, earning himself a move to the Avanti Racing team under the tutelage of Andrew Christie-Johnson. In 2015, Bevin's consistency from NRS to HC races across Australia and Asia has landed the 24-year-old a ride with Cannondale-Garmin from 2016.
"The team is simply athlete first. The hours that all the staff put in is phenomenal and they do what they can to make sure we as riders have everything we need to shine on race day," Bevin told Cyclingnews how Avanti have helped him to reach new heights this season. "Some of it is simple, like keeping an eye on all the teams training files through Today's Plan and knowing that the team is fit and healthy come race day. Other things are based around a lot of training camps and race reconnaissance. Together it adds up to an environment that encourages performance. There is a deep passion for cycling and developing riders that runs through this team and it’s a great environment to be part of."
Bevin follows in the footsteps of Campbell Flakemore (BMC), Jack Haig (Orica-GreenEdge), Nathan Earle (Team Sky), Nathan Haas (Cannondale-Garmin), Steele von Hoff (NFTO), Will Clarke (Drapac) and Richie Porte (Team Sky) before him in making the move to the WorldTour from Christie-Johnson's team and it is the Tasmanian who he credits for a new found level of success in 2015.
"My year has had a huge amount of influence from two people. Firstly Andrew Christie-Johnston has had a big influence in helping me develop as a rider," he said. "I'm not sure how he thought my season was going to look from the outset but as it progressed he made plenty of good calls and this was reflected in my results. Managing a season that has run from January to October is a pretty tough task."
Bevin also thanks coach Simon Finnel for helping to direct energy and attention into his training, unlike previous years. While not quite the 'marginal gains' approach of Sky, Bevin outlined Finnel's precise role as coach.
"We have a system that has allowed me to perform at a high level all season long. Consistency has been the largest thing for me, I have had other seasons where I had peaks of form, but none that have been so consistent," he said. "I have never had trouble with training or getting through the work but I have made big gains by simply staying healthy. This has come from refining my training, staying disciplined and keeping a close eye on what’s going on overall. The training is very focused and intensity remains high throughout and this has been an extremely effective combination."
Starting the season with 13th place at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, Bevin then placed second place overall and took victory on the queen stage of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour before claiming a stage and day in the leader's jersey at the Tour de Taiwan. At the Tour de Korea, Bevin found himself going head-to-head with Caleb Ewan on the sprint friendly parcours, finishing runner up on five occasions but enjoying victory on stage 4 as he finished second overall. Add to this several dominant NRS performances that has Bevin leading the series overall.
Bevin equally attributes this early-season success to his training schedule and the simple fact that he thoroughly enjoys pinning on a race number.
"There has been a lot of adapting to what racing is ahead which has helped a diverse range of results. The focus in training is forever changing and that has helped me keep it fresh and motivation high. A large part of staying motivated is simply enjoying the racing," he said. I love to race and I love the fight so that keeps me wanting to push on, year round. Confidence comes from doing the work in training, racing has been about using what I have."
Asked if one results from 2015 stands out above the others, Bevin replied "Authurs Seat at the Herald Sun Tour. That stage was a big goal for me and to deliver, as well as second on GC, set the tone for the season. It also started me on this path of really testing my limits in races throughout the season, adapting to what was coming up and not being a one dimensional rider."
While remaining focused on finishing the 2015 season as strongly as possible, it's no surprise Bevin is thinking about the year ahead and preparing for life at the top level of the sport. Packing a fast finish and ability to climb, Bevin's characteristics resemble that of a punchuer but the 24-year-old believes initially racing the WorldTour circuit will be a voyage of self discovery and lot of hard work.
"I think a bit part of taking the next step was embracing my all round ability. To make it at a WorldTour level you have to be a very good all round athlete and I am under no illusions about how hard the next step up is going to be," he said of the change. "First and foremost it will be about adapting to that level then from there it is about finding out how far I can go. I am fortunate to have a good natural sprint and will keep pushing as hard as I can to be the fastest guy left at the tougher finishes."
With several WorldTour suitors lining up for his signature, Bevin explained having Andrew McQuaid as his agent helped him focus purely on racing and "when it came time to get serious, Cannondale-Garmin was where I wanted to go and that process was quickly taken care of.
"I said from the very start that 2015 was about racing for Avanti and getting the job done, obviously getting a contract was something I wanted to happen but I wasn’t going to see one unless I was putting runs on the board," he said. "It loops back to choosing to go to Avanti, they want to win bike races and they want to see rider’s progress. The best way forward."
Before he joins the Argyle brigade, Bevin is looking to put the disappointment of missing the world championships team behind him and claim the two most prestigious races on the NRS calendar.
"Honestly I had hoped to get a start at Road Worlds, I knew I was a long shot and ultimately it didn’t happen. This aside my motivation has not dipped off, training has been going really well and now I am targeting the Tour of Tasmania and then the Melbourne to Warrnambool. Both these races hold great prestige in Australian Cycling and I feel as a cyclist that ultimately 'came up' through racing here, it would be very nice to finish 2015 off properly," he said.