James Lowsley-Williams is feeling fresh and focused ahead of the next phase of his season.
The 25-year-old took three weeks off following a stunning Tour Series campaign in which he racked up six top-10s in eight rounds.
He grabbed one third, three fourth places and, such was his consistency, only failed to finish inside the top 13 in Durham, where a series of crashes and punctures put paid to his hopes.
The relentless nature of the series took its toll, though. And with a couple of pressing family engagements, he took the chance for some time out.
The former UK Youth man returned to action at the Tour of the Reservoir last weekend and will step up his comeback with the Wales Open Criterium tomorrow night and UCI 1.1 Velothon Wales on Sunday.
While he recognises he is still some way off firing on all cylinders, Lowsley-Williams is delighted to be back. He said:
“I’m getting back on the horse really. I’ve had a few weeks off since the Tour Series and put on a bit of weight!
“So in the past week or so I’ve been getting back to the hard yards. I did the Tour of the Reservoir and, while I wasn’t fit, I didn’t find it too bad.
“When you do something like the Tour Series, the races are so short you can lose a bit of fitness because you are not getting the miles in.
“I wanted to do well in that, so I was making sure I was well rested for each race. It was a bit of a focus for me but coming out of that I needed a bit of a break.
“It won’t take me long. It is a case of refocusing, looking at how I can slot into the team again to make sure we keep getting good results in the Prems.
“I want to make sure I am a rider Tim can rely upon to make sure that happens. I think I will come back stronger for my break.
“It is always tough being the nail not the hammer and that is how it was at the Res. But I think I will be a different rider in two weeks.”
The Wales Open Criterium in Abergavenny on Friday night (8pm) represents the third round of the British Cycling National Circuit Series.
On his Tour Series form, Lowsley-Williams would be a contender for victory. But he admits now they key is to get some race-sharpness back into his legs.
His overriding ambition this weekend is to help Tim Elverson’s men deliver a big result in the Velothon Wales, where he helped Ian Bibby to third with NFTO last term. He added:
“Friday’s race will help to give me that edge. I am working on building myself back up and that is a massive part of it.
“Maybe three weeks ago I would have been one of the favourites. I don’t know what I’ll be like now. We’ll see.
“I am looking forward to it but I am more excited about Velothon on Sunday because that is a cracking race.
“Max (Stedman) showed last year he can get a big result there. I’d love to slip into that godfather-type role and put him into position.
“I feel that is what I am good at, especially in a race like that because I have experience from Tour of Britains and Ride Londons.
“Dex (Gardias) is looking strong as well, so I am really looking forward to it. I am confident we can get a positive result.”
Stedman finished seventh last season, while Jack Pullar was 18th as Tom Stewart clinched the crown for Madison Genesis.
The full team for the Wales Open Criterium will be revealed on Friday morning, while the Velothon line-up will follow 24 hours later.