Scott Thwaites, from Burley-in-Wharfedale, will make his Grand Tour debut from today in the Vuelta a Espana.
Thwaites will become the first cyclist from Yorkshire to compete in a Grand Tour since Rotherham’s Ben Swift took part in the Giro d’Italia for Team Sky in 2014.
La Vuelta, which consists of 21 stages in 22 days, will see Thwaites compete with some of the world’s finest cyclists, including reigning Tour de France winner Chris Froome and Spaniard Alberto Contador.
Froome is vying to become the third rider in history to win both the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana in the same season but is expected to face fierce competition from Nairo Quintana, and Contador.
Froome said: “It’s no secret my condition is not the same as it was in the Tour de France, but if I have the view of trying to get that good condition back by the second half of the Vuelta then let’s see how it goes.
“My focus for the season was the Tour de France, then I went on to the Olympics and I’m here on the back of that so I haven’t trained specifically for the Vuelta. But I’m here, I’m motivated, I’ve got a great team around me and I look forward to doing the best race possible.”
Thwaites, 26, will be racing for German team Bora-Argon 18 in Spain. Bora-Argon 18 were founded in 2010 – then-named Team NetApp – and have since built up a strong roster, with world champion Peter Sagan poised to join at the beginning of the 2017 season.
Thwaites is out of contract with the team at the end of the season and rumoured to be moving elsewhere. This next three weeks then offers a good chance for a rider who traditionally focuses on the one-day classics to prove he has the stamina for a three-week stage race.