Scott Thwaites was just another Yorkshireman when he watched the Tour de France ride through his hometown this summer but after turning his frustrations into Commonwealth Games success, the 24-year-old insists he is now ready to mount an assault on the yellow jersey.
Moving his way into contention for Tour selection as part of his team NetApp-Endura thanks to some impressive rides, Thwaites was gutted to miss out with the peloton passing through Burley-in-Wharfedale, where he grew up, during the Grand Depart.
Fast-forward to August and Thwaites was standing on the podium after the Commonwealth road race having battled through treacherous conditions to pick up bronze.
The general public weren’t the only ones paying attention with Thwaites’ performances earning him a place on the British Cycling’s long list ahead for the UCI Road World Championships, although he didn’t get the chance to ride in Ponferrada, Spain.
And while Team Sky’s British riders may be dominating the headlines, Thwaites insists he is in a fortuitous position to race in the Tour with his stock fast rising at NetApp-Endura.
“In July, the Tour is pretty much everything for me, I was pretty disappointed to miss out but I think it is better in the long run that I do it when I am ready for it because I would obviously want to get to Paris,” said Thwaites.
“The year in general was a success, you have ups and downs like all years but to look back and have a Commonwealth medal is something I am very proud of and it is something I will look back on in the future.
“That performance on that day has given me a lot of confidence to take into next year and get more results.
“I think I will be another year stronger and wiser and the confidence that I have gained from the big stage will hopefully help me take more risks or believe in myself more when it really matters and I hope that will help me get consistent results next year.
“There are so many talented riders in Britain and just to be part of the long list for the worlds was a big step for me and it was good recognition for what I’ve done throughout the year. I am happy they are looking at me and hopefully I will get my chance.
“Team Sky is a brilliant team but it is not all about them and I think the team I am at suits me because at Team Sky perhaps I wouldn’t get as much opportunity to go for results myself as I would be supporting the real superstars there.
“It is allowing me to grow in the way that I want to but give me the opportunity to win races as that is what I am good at, I can pick up results here and there and go for victories and maybe I would lose that if I went to Team Sky as a support rider.
“I feel at home there and I am looking forward to the next year for them and hopefully we can get into the Tour as that is the big focus and I want to ride it next year.
“This year I feel like I am ready for it and if the training goes well I will be fighting for a place in the team.”
© Sportsbeat 2014