The first team training camp of a new season can include initiation practices that become part of cycling folklore, but not for Australian Miles Scotson.
The 24-year-old has embarked on a more practical introduction to Groupama-FDJ, the long-standing French squad he is competing for at the Tour Down Under this week.
“I missed the bonding training camp because I came back to Australia. I heard there was something interesting there for the new riders and I got out of it. It was something about sculling beers, but I would have been pretty good at that anyway,” he mused.
Scotson has had a bumpy start to the season. The 2017 national road champion competed at the Bay Crits in preparation for another shot at the green and gold bands earlier this month, however a crash dashed his hopes.
“I was dreaming of going out and winning a national title again, but everything went wrong that day. I missed that early break and then after the crash I just decided to go home,” he reflected.
In South Australia he is beginning to work out the nuances of his French-speaking team while making efforts to turn that bad luck around.
“Steve [Morabito] and Tobias [Ludvigsson], my teammates, are going well and might try for GC. I’m a little bit unknown,” he said at the start of stage three. “I had a bit of bad luck in the final [of stage two] but I’m feeling pretty good here so want to try.
"There’s not a whole lot of pressure on us here, we just see how it goes.”
Scotson transferred to Groupama-FDJ following two seasons with BMC Racing, which merged with Polish Professional Continental squad CCC-Sprandi to become CCC this year.
“I was interested in a change because the make-up of the team was changing a lot at CCC, and then two of my teammates had already moved here,” Scotson said.
“I heard from my manager that FDJ were really interested. I thought it was going to be outside of my comfort zone, because I don’t speak any French, but I’m happy so far.”
Scotson is set to compete in the UAE Tour next month. He said a Grand Tour may also be part of his race schedule this season.
“The Vuelta could be good because it’s hot and I’m used to the heat. I live in Girona so it’s probably the most fitting for me, it looks like that could be most likely,” he said.