Scott Thwaites is hungry for more after finishing his first Tour de France.
The Yorkshireman was making his debut in the world’s biggest race for Team Dimension Data, fulfilling one of his earliest ambitions as a cyclist.
“I’ve really enjoyed it,” he said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and now I’ve done it. It’s a big race ticked off the list.
“It’s been tough, which is what I expected with 200 of the best guys in the world here in their best shape, but it’s a great stepping stone in my career and hopefully I can be back next year for another go.”
At the start of the Tour, Thwaites had said he was most looking forward to tackling the famous climbs in the Alps and Pyrenees, and the 27-year-old said the experience of riding up mountains such as the Galibier and Col d’Izoard did not disappoint.
“At the time they’re not that nice when you’re suffering but it’s so beautiful with the fans,” he said.
“Just going through that sea of screaming people, it’s an amazing feeling just to ride through there with all the support. I heard lots of shouts for myself and for the team.”
Dimension Data’s plans were upended early in the Tour when star sprinter Mark Cavendish crashed out on stage four, but Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen ensured they did not go home empty-handed by winning stage 19 – having twice been denied in photo finishes earlier in the Tour.
“We definitely deserved it,” Thwaites said. “We bounced back well from Cav crashing out and Eddy really stepped up to lead the team. He got close so many times. It wasn’t really that it was frustrating, but we felt we deserved something from the race. All the hard work we put in paid off.”
Thwaites will now return to the UK where he plans to line up for the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic next weekend, and he hopes to take part in the Tour of Britain in September.
“We’ll have to see how the legs are,” he said.
“Coming out of the Tour it can go two ways. You either come out with really good legs or really tired. Hopefully I can do the Tour of Britain because it’s always nice to race in the UK.”
Chris Froome, meanwhile, will not spend long celebrating his fourth Tour de France victory as he immediately eyes a second grand tour of the season.
Froome moved to within one of the all-time record of five Tour wins – jointly held by Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain – but it is another piece of cycling history he fancies next.
The Vuelta a Espana starts in less than four weeks but Froome plans to be on the start line, bidding to become the first man to win two grand tours in the same season since Alberto Contador’s Giro-Tour double in 2008.
No rider has won the Tour-Vuelta double since since Hinault in 1978, when the Spanish race was still raced in the first half of the season.
Froome’s entire approach to this season and this Tour has been built around peaking later than usual, in the hope he can carry his form forward into the Vuelta.
The signs are certainly good given how he was able to contain his rivals in the last week of one of the closest Tours ever contested – 54 seconds.