Scott Davies has an unmistakable talent, one that RCUK witnessed at first hand on the slopes of Mallorca’s mountainous interior.
The 18-year-old, who last year won the junior Tour of Wales – adding his name to an illustrious of former champions – was a new addition to the Madison-Genesis roster this season.
Team manager, Roger Hammond, had noted the young rider’s ability and snapped him up even before he rode to seventh place at the junior world championships in Florence, last September.
Hammond’s reputation as a talent spotter – not to mention Davies’ reputation as a rider – received a further boost last Thursday (June 26) when the Welsh teenager stormed to the national under-23 time trial.
His first season with the Milton Keynes-based outfit has not been entirely straightforward: a training crash, and another big fall during the Tour des Fjords having hampered his progress.
But after beating compatriot Owain Doull (An Post-Chain Reaction) to the red, white and blue-striped jersey, Davies – who remains as grounded as ever – could not hide his delight at the result.
Speaking to RCUK, he said: “On a personal note, it was pretty huge for me. It was a target of mine. When I looked at the season and sat down with the guys at Welsh Cycling I thought the national TT could be something I could go for.
“So to have that expectation in mind and then to achieve it is immensely satisfying.
“To take a title on home soil as such is great. I think that’s probably the most local course I’ll get in terms of the national champs so I’m over the moon.”
A tough, hilly course awaited at Celtic Manor for the three national time trial races – with Davies, Emma Pooley and Sir Bradley Wiggins the trio who took home the national titles.
And Davies admitted that home advantage – or at least recce-ing the course in the lead-up to the race – had paid off.
“I’d ridden the course four times beforehand,” he explained. “I went up last week with Welsh Cycling and then I did another two laps the day before, which I think was a really good idea – just to have a good mental map in my mind of what lines to take, where the big bits of road were etc.
“It just gives you that extra bit of confidence going into it. It worked out well in the end.
“I don’t think it was an easy TT by any means, as far as courses go. It was well-suited to me, in terms of the terrain.
“I wouldn’t have wanted to do it in the wet, as the seniors did, though. I think the weather was on our side as under-23s. Obviously, I am going to say I liked the course!”
Davies reached the wider cycling conscious with his performance in Florence. Now, as then, he is refusing to dwell on prior achievements. His vision is firmly fixed on future.
Displaying maturity and drive beyond his years, Davies hopes his latest victory provides a spring board to an impressive second-half to his debut season as a senior.
“It’s been a mixed season,” he admitted. “There have been ups and downs obviously, but generally I think it has been a good season so far.
“This has been my first big result as such, but I raced the Tour des Fjords in Norway last month and unfortunately I had a bad crash in stage three – but up until then I had good legs I thought. I was at the sharp end on the climbs and that gives you confidence.
“Hopefully though, this is only the beginning of it. I hope to step it up again.
“I’ve not found it too bad a step-up. The distances haven’t been the issue, it’s more the tactics – the mistakes I could afford to make in the juniors and correct them just because you had the legs is not the case at senior level.
“Stuff like bottlenecks, crashes and crosswinds – it’s all magnified at senior level. You can’t correct those mistakes. You have to be on the look-out all the time.”
The next big step-up in class Davies will face is the small matter of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Selected as part of the road team built around Geraint Thomas, who will race in Wales after supporting Chris Froome at the Tour de France, Davies will be a key supporter of the Team Sky man.
And the 18-year-old is relishing the prospect of racing in such exalted company when the road race rolls out on Sunday August 3.
“I’m really looking forward to the Commonwealth Games,” he said. “Just to be named in the squad with Geraint Thomas, Luke Rowe and all the other boys – it’s a privilege, to be honest.
“I’ll go up to Glasgow purely for the experience. I don’t think a result is on the cards personally, so if I can help the guys in any way it will be a job well done for me. It will be a supportive role but I’m looking forward to it.”
Pictures used with kind permission of Huw Evans Picture Agency