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Tuesday 18 July 2017

2017 Tour de France – Q&A with Scott Thwaites

Redline-sponsored pro cyclist Scott Thwaites is currently competing in the Tour de France with the 200 best road cyclists in the world. We caught up with him on a rest day to find out how he is getting on.

Image credit: Scott Mitchell 

This is your first Tour de France – how are things going and how does it compare to other stage races you have done?

The race is going well so far. It’s very fast and the mountain stages have been tough. I’m taking it day by day and hopefully I’ll make it all the way to Paris. Obviously, it’s longer than most races I do throughout the year and the Tour de France is the most iconic race in the world. Here you have the 200 best riders in the world, all in top condition so it’s definitely a fight to get results.

We’ve seen some great footage of you at the front of the peloton leading out the sprinters (Mark Cavendish and Edvald Boassen Hagen) in the last kilometres of the race. What’s that like and do you have a specific job to do?

It’s great to have such talented riders on the team as when I work for them, I have full confidence that they will get a good result out of it. My job is to protect the sprinter on the run in to the finish. It’s often very chaotic and you can waste a lot of energy moving up to the front of the peloton in the wind. I try to shelter the sprinter from the wind and position him at the front in the final kilometre to allow him to be fresh for the sprint finish.

So near but yet so far... Boassen Hagen misses out by millimetres

Image credit: Mario Stiehl photography

It’s your rest day – exactly how tired are you and what do you get up to when you’re off the bike?

I’ve done 15 stages now through the Jura, Pyrenees and Massif Central so I’m started to feel tired in the legs. It’s certainly getting harder walking up the steps on the team bus! Nevertheless, I feel like I still have the power during the race to go a good job for the team and possibly even try to get into a breakaway. On a rest day, we just go for a short spin of around 1.30hrs to keep the legs loose and then just relax in the room, watch a film, get a massage, Skype home to catch up with friends/family, things like that really.
Can you pull a decent wheelie?

I can pull a reasonable wheelie but I’m not as good as the kids you see on the streets. I tend to try to keep both wheels on the tarmac as much as possible!

What do you drive?

I currently drive a BMW 1 series M Sport. I’ve had it for a while and it’s been a great car, but the guys at Redline Specialist Cars have hooked me up with something a bit more practical for transporting my bikes.

When did you start racing?

I started racing when I was about 12 years old, mainly focussing on cyclo-cross and mountain biking. I started riding professionally on the road in 2010 at age 19.

France or Yorkshire?

I love riding the iconic climbs in France, following in the footsteps of all the great cyclists before me but Yorkshire is my home and nothing beats the support, culture and amazing roads we are blessed with.

Who is the joker on the team (Dimension Data) and why?

We don’t really have one guy who is the joker but the atmosphere in the team is great. We all get along really well and support each other on and off the bike. Spending nearly a month on the road with each other creates great friendships and a real family feel to the team.

What are the best and worst things about the Tour de France?

The crowds are amazing, particularly on the climbs. It really gives you goosebumps riding through a narrow passage with all the cheers. Also, the organisation is fantastic, there is a village set up at the start of every stage where we can go and grab a coffee and some snacks before the start. There’s even a barber shop there, so a few days ago I had a trim to keep my head cool before the hot mountains stages. The worst parts of the race are the long transfers after the stage (thankfully there hasn’t been many). Sometimes we arrive at the hotel after 9 pm so it’s a long day on the road. Also, the crashes are bad. I had a little spill on the first stage but I was lucky to come away with only a bit of skin missing. Some guys come off much worse, but this is part of racing and we’re all aware of the risks.

Any plans to get in a break?

I’d love to spend a day out front in a breakaway but the stages are so difficult, that there aren’t many opportunities left. However, I’ll keep trying and hopefully, I’ll catch the right move and get my face on TV a bit more.

Pedal power or brake horse power?

This is a difficult one to answer… The bike gives me a massive buzz descending through sweeping corners in the mountains, but one thing I’d like to do is spend a day on the track in a race car to see how the thrill compares to cycling.

What’s it like being on the same team as Mark Cavendish? 

It’s great being on a team with Cav. He’s a great leader and always willing to pass on his knowledge and experience. He was one of the main reasons I joined the team and we get on really well on and off the bike.

 

Ride with Scott

Redline will be hosting a ride with Scott Thwaites in 2017. To be in with a chance of winning a place on Le Tour de Redline to ride with Scott, enter your details below.

 

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