Chris Lawless says the feeling of pulling on a Team Sky kit will be a special one ahead of his pro debut at Tour Down Under.
The young Brit is part of an influx of under-23 talent to join the team during the off-season, and he heads to Australia as part of an exciting youthful lineup.
The 22-year-old explained: “I think the thing I’m most excited about for 2018 is pulling that kit on for the first time and racing in it. It’s my first ever pro team so it will be something special to do. I’m really excited for it and can’t wait to get to the first race of the year.
“I’m really looking forward to starting the season at the Tour Down Under. It will be the fourth time I’ve been out to Australia to race. Last winter was the only one I’ve missed out on since I turned under-23 and I seemed to miss it quite a lot. It’s always good to get out there and do a training block around the races – you get guaranteed good weather nearly every day. It’s a nice place to start the season. The roads are quick, rolling, and it makes it easy to get a lot of work done.
“Going over there with a young team should be pretty fun. [Salvatore] Puccio is the most experienced guy we’ve got and he’s not old really! It should be good seeing how we all bounce off each other and I’m sure we’ll all be really enthusiastic to get up there and get stuck in.”
Turning pro on a British team makes the experience doubly special for Lawless, who thinks the transition should be easier than a lot of riders who went before him.
“I think as a British rider it does make it a bit more special to turn pro with a British team, and I think it makes it a bit easier as well,” he said. “There have been times in the past for young British riders where they’ve had to go to an Italian speaking team and as well as trying to learn all the stuff around moving up to the WorldTour, they’ve had to learn a new language as well. So hopefully it will be a bit easier for me to get a lot of experience from the first year because I’m not concentrating on learning another language as well, and trying to decipher what’s being said in team meetings.
“Hopefully I’ll get to race on some British roads too – that’s always special. I’ve done that a few times before at the Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain. The crowds are always amazing. Hopefully it will be the same over these next two years and I’ll get to do those races.”
When it comes to goals for 2018, Lawless is hopeful his neo-pro season will be all about gaining experience, enabling him to grasp the opportunity for a result when the time comes.
He added: “In my first year with Team Sky I’d like to fit in well with the team and experience different roles within the team, whether that’s riding on the front or getting bottles – whatever it is. Then hopefully at some point I’ll get the opportunity to lead on a stage or a one-day race.”