Blythe was racing for Aqua Blue Sport when management announced its closure through want of a sponsor, and then controversially withdrew from competition mid-season.
The 29-year-old, as well as Roger Kluge, were part of Ewan’s entourage that went to Lotto Soudal and have raced together here at the UAE Tour this week producing a victory on Hatta Dam.
“It was a massive relief because I was going to stop. I said by the 15th of October, if I don’t have anything by then, I’ll just stop. I knew that Caleb was looking for riders to help in the lead-out, so I spoke to him a little bit,” Blythe said.
It was a stressful period for the Englishman, who has a family and is expecting twins imminently. Family life more than anything changed Blythe’s career outlook and a spot on a domestic team he respectfully said wouldn’t have paid enough to support the growing brood.
“Having kids changes a hell of a lot. I’ve got to support them and make sure I can give them the best life that I can. That’s it, it’s not really about me anymore,” he said.
Blythe previously competed alongside Ewan at an incarnation of Mitchelton-Scott in 2015. The real prospect he faced of having to end a career prematurely, home life and promotion back-up to the WorldTour have all made an impression on the lead-out man.
“When this came around it gave me a little bit of perspective. It’s not going to last forever and when it does stop that’s it forever. It’s done. There is no coming back from it. I’m a little bit more motivated than normal but it’s nice to be back,” he said.
Blythe is set to compete alongside Ewan at some smaller as well as marquee races this season, after teaming up with him previously at the Tour Down Under in January.
“I’ll have my own chances when I go to Belgium and do some smaller races. I’ll do the Giro with Caleb, the Tour of Turkey. I won’t be doing Milan-San Remo or Paris-Nice, which is a shame, but c’est la vie,” he said.
The UAE Tour has provided another important opportunity for the pair, and Kluge, to re-familiarise with each other in fast and furious bunch sprint finishes.
“It’s about getting to work with Caleb, a bit of preparation for the classics. And I’ve got to do Catalunya, which is not fun so great preparation for that,” Blythe mused.