You wait ages for the first pro-level win of your career and then two come along in the space of a week. At least that’s the case for American rider Scott McGill (Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling) after the 23-year-old won his second stage of the Volta a Portugal on Thursday.
The win propelled the American sprinter back into the lead of the points classification and cemented his place as one of the hottest properties rising through the US ranks when it comes to European racing. The Volta a Portugal has been a breakout race for McGill with two second places sitting alongside his pair of stage wins.
“The breakaways have been harder and harder to control and taken longer and longer to form as the race has gone on. We only have five guys so yesterday was a much harder day. Then Glassdrive Q8 Anicolor kept the break pretty tight and then with about 50km to go we started to take control of the race with Jonathan Clarke and Cormac McGeough. It was a pretty technical finale, as most of these are, with the finishes in towns, but I was able to win the uphill sprint,” McGill told VeloNews ahead of stage 7.
“I’m back in the green jersey now with a six-point lead. We didn’t come into the race with the jersey as a target so we’re just trying to win stages and then if we do that the jersey could come our way. We’re not trying to spend too much energy on the intermediate sprints or going in the breaks. We just wanted a second stage win so maybe we’ll target the jersey a bit more. Today is a tough stage though, we have a second cat climb 10km from the finish, so we’ll just see how I’m going on the climbs. Then the day after that could be another sprint.”
McGill’s trajectory as a rider has been methodical and steady. He improved each year through the Aevolo development squad before signing with Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling at the start of the current campaign. While his results have been steady, his week in Portugal has put him on another level altogether.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” he said.
“After the first win I thought that the pressure would come off but it feels like I have more pressure on myself because I know that I can win. It almost feels like anything other than a win is a failure now.”
The two wins have seen McGill build up a following at the Volta a Portugal and interest is likely to increase when it comes to the American rider’s future.
“In this country, you can see what this race means to the people. On the rest day, we were getting a beer in the pub and we were recognized. Then we were watching a soccer match on TV and they cut to a commercial with us in it. It’s definitely a big race, and hopefully, it means that I can advance my career,” he said.