The heat is on for Scott Thwaites as he bids to realise his dream of riding in the Tour de France when it comes to Yorkshire later this year.
The 24-year-old is in Majorca for warm-weather training with his NetApp Endura team who are hoping to gain a wild-card entry into the world’s greatest cycle race which starts in Leeds on July 5.
The Burley-in-Wharfedale rider regul- arly trains on the route of the first two stages, said: “The Tour de France is the pinnacle of the sport and everybody wants to ride it or watch it.
“It is a once in a lifetime experience for it to come to Yorkshire. My team is bidding to win a place in the race. If they are successful I will be doing all I can to be in the team, but I know they will pick the best riders on form.
“It is the only time in my career that the race will start in Yorkshire so I would love to be a part of it.”
He added: “Yorkshire is a beautiful place to ride and I am sure the riders will enjoy the scenery.
“Although there are no massively challenging climbs as in France the route for the first two stages is over constantly rolling roads with sections of grippy surfaces.
“Some of the riders might look at the stages on paper and think they are going to be easy, but I think they will be surprised by the challenge they present.
“In view of the constant rolling roads and some narrow lanes, I believe there will be plenty of attacking riding. I think it could be quite entertaining.”
Thwaites, who won the Otley Grand Prix in 2011 and 2012, is expected to open his season in the Tour of Qatar from February 9-14.
The initial race in 2013 was won by Mark Cavendish and Thwaites said: “It will be an interesting challenge with the wind and heat.
“Last season I had my first race with the team in Argentina and I expect the race in Qatar to be equally tough.”
Looking back on his first season, Thwaites said: “I didn’t know what to expect when I joined up with the team.
“I had raced mainly in Britain with just a few races in Europe, but I feel after my first full season of racing on the continent that I can compete with the top guys.
“I was disappointed not to win a race but I did have some good results. Now I want to start the year well. Racing in the Tour de France in Yorkshire would be a dream come true.”