NetApp-Endura has been named as one of the four UCI Professional Continental teams to be given a wild card for this year’s Tour de France – raising the prospect that Yorkshire rider Scott Thwaites may get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to take part in cycling’s biggest race on his home roads.
Thwaites spent three seasons with Endura Racing, and was one of the most successful riders in the Tour Series prior to the Scottish outfit’s merger with NetApp at the end of 2012.
This year’s 101st edition of the Tour de France begins with a stage from Leeds to Harrogate, with Stage 2 running from York to Sheffield.
He told the Telegraph & Argus: “For me the prospect of being a Yorkshire rider racing in the Tour de France in my own county is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
"It is up to me to work hard and earn my place in the team. It is something I have dreamed of. I would love to be the home rider being cheered on by a Yorkshire crowd."
The 23-year-old, who comes from Burley in Wharfedale, around 10km to the northwest of Leeds, is currently training in Majorca and will be riding for NetApp-Endura in the Tour of Oman.
The Germany-based outfit participated in its first Grand Tour in the 2012 Giro d’Italia, and last September clinched its biggest win to date when Leopold König won Stage 8 of the Vuelta a España.
The other three teams given wild cards for the 101st edition of the Tour de France, which starts in Leeds on 5 July, are French outfits Cofidis and Bretagne-Séché Environnement, and the Swiss team, IAM Cycling.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.