ADAM Blythe knows he may only have two more days in a national champion’s jersey in his home county so the Sheffield rider is planning to make them count at the Tour de Yorkshire.
The 27-year-old finished eighth in the opening stage of the race which finished in Scarborough, avoiding a crash 200 metres from the finish which saw a number of riders go down following a fall for Magnus Cort Nielsen.
Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen claimed the stage victory from Caleb Ewan, the same one-two as the opening stage a year ago, with Cornwall’s Chris Opie in third.
Aqua Blue Sport rider Blythe has not arrived at the Tour de Yorkshire in peak condition, but he has still earmarked stage two between Tadcaster and Harrogate as an opportunity to make his mark on home soil.
“I was a bit tired and didn’t have the best feelings all day,” said Blythe, who was crowned national champion last summer ahead of Mark Cavendish in Stockton-on-Tees. “I think I was in the fourth group up the final climb but I got back on in the end.
“I wasn’t expecting to be easy, it’s not really a goal for me this season but it’s brilliant riding here as national champion in Yorkshire.
“It could be the last the time I get to do that. The crowds were great, and the weather helped with that and it’s great having so many people that shouting and cheering us on.
“That’s always really special and it was great to be out there in front of them.
“The second stage will be a good day for a sprint so hopefully I can get involved in it, we’ll see how the legs are feeling.”
Sunday’s final stage finishes in Fox Valley near Sheffield, and will see Blythe ride in front of friends and family.
However he admits that he will struggle to make a big impact on that stage, which features some exceptionally tough climbs and will be the hardest in the race’s three-year history.
Blythe added: “I will have family and friends there on the last stage but they know it’s going to be a tough day for me.
“It will be the hardest stage in the three years of the race, and it would be the hardest stage on most races. I’ll be looking to hang on as much as possible.”
* Yorkshire Bank is an Official Partner of the Tour de Yorkshire and the ground-breaking Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries initiative. Visit www.ybonline.co.uk/tdy