Greetings from the world of the professional peloton and the latest update on my bid to make Team Sky’s nine-man roster for the 2014 Tour de France.
The biggest bike race on the planet coming to our home county has certainly cuaght the imagination of everyone involved, myself included.
The route for stage one effectivey goes right through my childhood. I’ve ridden those roads so much I know them like the back of my hand.
Even now, when I’m not racing around the world with Sky or out in Mallorca at a training camp, I’m on the roads out of my hometown in Leeds and off up to Otley and Ilkley and beyond, riding on exactly the same roads as the best in the world will be cycling on July 5.
That first stage in particular is the one I know really well, a lot of the roads where the same group I have been riding with for years goes out and trains.
The interest in the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire is just getting bigger all the time.
As a rider I’m getting stopped regularly with people wishing me well and also asking me for advice on where to go and watch the Tour in Yorkshire this summer.
The climb up Buttertubbs Pass on day one will be a great place for fans to congregate.
It should be an absolutely fantastic crowd, and already the chatter among some of my fellow Sky riders is that we expect it the route to be lined from the first kiolometre to the last, something we don’t even see when the Tour goes through France.
I rode the Tour of Britain last year and that’s etting bigger and bigger all the time.
Now with the Tour de France we’ll get more and more international fans coming over to the county to watch it, so this is an unbelievable time for cycling in Yorkshire.
I was talking to Ben Swift my Sky team-mate and fellow Yorkshireman the the other day and he’s been very impressed with the excitement levels building in South Yorkshire where he does his regular training rides.
And it’s not just the cyclists talking about, it’s other folk talking about it.
And I want people to be talking to men about being a rider in the 2014 Tour de France.
It remains a tall order for me but I’ve made a solid start to the season and I’m working as hard as I can to catch the eye of Dave Brailsford.
At 21 – my 22nd birthday is on the day of this year’s second stage - I might not have experience on my side, but I do have youthful hunger and Brailsford and the coaches have shown in the past they are not afraid to turn to youth for a Tour de France.
Last year Pete Kennaugh was named in the squad late on and proved to be a revelation in support of Chris Froome.
Pete showed me last year that someone who wasn’t previously in contention can get in the team.
If you had asked him two months before the Tour if he would be there, he would have said there is absolutely no chance whatsoever.
But then he stepped up his game at the Criterium de Dauphine – a big Tour preparation stage race at the start of June – and they couldn’t not take him to the Tour.
That is the template I am hoping to follow.
As you’re reading this right now, I’m riding the Settimana Coppi e Bartali in Italy, a five-day stage race that continues until Sunday.
It’s a famous race and one I hope to do well in, helping the team achieve it’s aims.
Right now, the rest of my year is not mapped out but with the Giro d’Italia coming up in May, the racing is getting serious and the countdown to the 2014 Tour de France is on.