HE may have picked up road race bronze at the Commonwealth Games but Scott Thwaites was happy to be back taking team orders at the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic.
The 24-year-old Burley-Wharfedale rider swapped Team England for Team NetApp-Endura as he headed to London to race the 200km circuit around the capital and the surrounding Surrey countryside.
The after effects of Hurricane Bertha had suggested a repeat of the treacherous riding conditions Thwaites battled through to claim Commonwealth bronze in Glasgow.
Thwaites and teammate Sam Bennett were among the lead group heading into the closing stages – although another breakaway with 20km remaining would split the riders again.
They both lost touch of the front five that challenged for the podium as Thwaites revealed all his efforts were focused on ensuring Bennett finished as high as possible for his team.
As it was, Bennett took sixth on The Mall as Adam Blythe, winner of the recent Otley Grand Prix, won a sprint for victory while Thwaites himself was 35th and admitted he could have few complaints.
“I managed to get myself in the front group just before Box Hill,” he said. “Initially we had three guys there – myself, our team sprinter Sam Bennett and also Zak Dempster which was a good situation for us.
“But then unfortunately Zak struggled on the climb so it was left with me and Sam. Coming into the run in I just committed to helping Sam and making sure the group stayed away.
“Unfortunately he didn’t quite have the legs to go with the front group of guys but he finished just ahead of the peloton so it’s a good result for the team.”
Thwaites is quickly back in the saddle as he races over in Norway, although he will return to home shores for next month’s Tour of Britain.
Otley’s Lizzie Armitstead, fresh from her Commonwealth gold medal in women’s road race, was also in action in London.
The Boels Dolmans rider did well to finish third behind winner Giorgia Bronzini and Olympic road race champion Marianne Vos in a thrilling sprint finish on The Mall.
Armitstead was happy with the result. She said: ““I had not really prepared for this because I’ve been concentrating on road races,”
“For me it was not about winning today but about having some fun.”
?Prudential RideLondon took place on 9 & 10 August. To find out more, visit www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk