Max Stedman is looking forward to capping a memorable season at the Tour of Britain, which begins on Sunday.
The Canyon Eisberg climber is set to make his debut in the eight-day stage race following a stunning 12 months in the saddle.
Stedman, 22, tasted maiden UCI stage and general classification triumphs in the Tour of Quanzhou Bay in China last December.
Since then he has shown his class at the Tour de Yorkshire, impressed on his way to becoming a man of the Rás and starred in his Great Britain debut at the Tour of Alsace.
That’s not to mention 14th overall at the Tour of Almaty last October and a string of consistent efforts in domestic contests, such as the Spring Cup and Grand Prix Series.
It’s form which makes the University of Exeter graduate a shoo-in for Canyon Eisberg’s six-man Tour of Britain of squad, which will be revealed at 7pm on Monday evening.
And in a year of opportunities, Stedman is determined to take the next as he prepares to line up against the likes of Tour de France heroes Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas. He said:
“I’ve had a mega run. It is the consistency I have been looking for and maybe mentally I have started to concentrate a bit more.
“I didn’t get selected for the Tour of Britain last year, so the Tour of Almaty was probably a big moment for me.
“I was really proud of that because I was only a minute-and-a-half down on Jakob Fuglsang on a big climb.
“Then China was a nice surprise and maybe a turning point in my head. I am now going into these races knowing I can perform at this level.
“Representing Great Britain was a big moment, too. I knew I was getting to a level where I felt I was good enough, so to go there and straight away show what I can do was nice.
“Tim (Elverson) has seen me through these steps and helped me grow as a rider, which is pretty cool. He has always had faith in me.
“I don’t really know what to expect from my first Tour of Britain. It is going to be hard. It is a stacked startlist, with three of the top five from the Tour de France!
“Maybe 10th to 20th on GC would be a good ride. I know it’s a cliche but, to be honest, I am quite excited just to take it all in and take each day as it comes.
“I’d be satisfied if the season ended now, so there’s no real pressure attached. Obviously, I know Tim will want to get a good GC result and I want to do that for the team as well.
“It will be good to show myself over eight days. It is a big race with some really cool stages, so it is a great platform and a chance to put yourself in the spotlight.”
Stedman completed his preparation for the Tour of Britain with a superb second place behind Graham Briggs, of JLT Condor, in the Ryedale Grand Prix on Sunday.
In miserable conditions, he was outnumbered in the breakaway before outgunning national champion Connor Swift to snatch second spot in the uphill sprint. Stedman added:
“I was very happy. I sort of knew that sprint was going to be Brigga’s cup of tea but to outgun Connor up that was pretty good.
“After stage one of Alsace, the first thing Keith Lambert (British Cycling academy coach) said to me was I did way too much work in the break.
“I had that in the back of my mind, so I was playing it quite cannily. It was probably one of the smartest races I have ridden and I was dead chuffed with the result.
“I have been putting in some hard hours, so it is nice seeing it pay off. I knew the form was pretty good but it is always nice to test it in a hard race like that.”