Yorkshire's Tom Pidcock and Connor Swift to appear at Tour de France this summer
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Pidcock will make his debut in the great race as part of the Ineos Grenadiers’ eight-man team tasked with trying to win back the yellow jersey that at one point over the last decade they never looked like relinquishing.
The honour for Pidcock comes in only his second year in the professional road racing peloton, a period in which the 22-year-old from Leeds demonstrated his versatility as a bike rider by winning gold in the Olympic mountain bike race in Tokyo last August and the rainbow jersey in the cyclo-cross world championships in the United States in America.
Pidcock’s main goal as the Tour sweeps through Denmark and then into its traditional heartland of France is to help team leader Geraint Thomas challenge for the general classification victory he claimed back in 2018.
A year later Egan Bernal won it again for the Sky/Ineos machine, their seventh win in eight years, but the last two have belonged to Slovenian prodigy Tadej Pogacar of UAE Team Emirates, who will again start the race as firm favourite.
The second Yorkshireman to wheel down the ramp for Friday’s opening 13.1km time-trial is Connor Swift, the 26-year-old former British road race champion from Doncaster who is riding the Tour de France for a third successive year.
Swift will again ride a supporting role for his French team Arkea Samsic. He has recorded two top-20 finishes in his Tour de France career.
Two Yorkshiremen in the race is something to behold, for not that long ago – even back in 2014 when the Grand Depart came to Yorkshire – there were only four British riders in the entire race.
There are seven in this year’s edition, which finishes in Paris on Sunday, July 24, including four-time winner Chris Froome for Israel Premier Tech and a quartet at Ineos – Pidcock, Thomas, Luke Rowe and Adam Yates.
Pidcock starts only his second career Grand Tour less than two weeks after contracting Covid-19, which forced him to withdraw from the Tour de Suisse.
Yates, 29, also pulled out of that race with the virus but joins Thomas, Dani Martinez, time-trial specialist Filippo Ganna, Jonathan Castroviejo and Dylan van Baarle.