Scott Thwaites will be racing against some of cycling’s top stars when he launches his new season in Argentina on Monday.
Former world road race champion Mark Cavendish and past Tour de France winner Alberto Contadore are just two of the men he will be riding against when he makes his debut for the NetApp-Endura in the seven-stage Tour de San Louis in Argentina.
Thwaites, from Burley in Wharfedale, signed a two-year deal with the German-based outfit after an outstanding 2012.
He won the British Circuit Race Championship and the British Premier Calendar Road Race Series, as well as being the dominant rider at the Halfords Tour Series.
Now the 22-year-old faces his toughest test yet.
The race in Argentina has attracted a world-class field and among the other star names are Vuelta winner, Vincenzo Nibali, Tour de France green jersey winner, Peter Sagan and World ranked number one, Joaquim Rodriguez. Thwaites, who has won the Otley town centre race for the past two years, said “I was on the podium in a number of European UCI races last year, but this is another step up.
“It’s about learning and making steady process while supporting the more experienced riders in the team”.
After the race, Scott returns to train in the UK and compete in a number of one- day races in Belgium in preparation for the April classics such as the Tour of Flanders.
His British programme will be restricted because the UCI do not allow riders in teams registered above Continental level to drop down to compete in domestic races, apart from the Tour of Britain and the National Road Champion- ships.
One small loophole is that races classed as criteriums, rather than road races, are exempt which may leave an opening to ride in the country’s top criterium at Otley, subject to team commitments.