Harrison Wood: British cyclist has Tour de France ambition

Harrison Wood: British cyclist has Tour de France ambition

Harrison Wood
Harrison Wood was a promising young footballer before turning to cycling

British cyclist Harrison Wood hopes his selection for the Criterium du Dauphine can enhance his chances of racing in the Tour de France.

The 22-year-old from Torquay has been included in the Cofidis team for the French-based classic which is seen as a warm-up for the Tour de France.

Wood finished the first stage of the race in 77th place on Sunday.

“The fact that I’m here and I’m racing it, and they’ve put their trust in me gives me a slight chance,” he said.

“If I do well this week then normally I should ride it. If I do well, if I’m up there, there’s no reason I wouldn’t,” he told BBC South West.

“But it’s my first year as a pro cyclist so sometimes the teams prefer to put you in the Giro in Italy or the Vuelta in Spain, the other two Grand Tours, to get you to learn because the Tour’s really stressful.

“That for me is my big dream, to be able to ride the Tour de France, it would just be amazing to do it.”

Wood’s journey to elite level cycling has not been the norm – he started out playing football and was on Torquay United’s academy before it was shut and began cycling with Mid Devon Cycling Club.

He joined an amateur team in France in 2019 and then spent two years riding semi-professionally in the Netherlands before signing up as a trainee with top French side Cofidis last year.

Wood had been in the French Alps training for the Tour de Suisse when he got the call to tell him he was being picked for the Criterium du Dauphine.

The race, in the south east of France, was won by Chris Froome ahead of three of his four Tour de France victories while Geraint Thomas won the 2018 edition shortly before taking that year’s Tour de France title.

And Wood hopes he can follow those British riders and taste some success at the top level of the sport.

“It’s still early days in my career, but I’d like to win a stage or something like that,” he said.

“I’m not going to beat around the bush and say ‘I don’t really know, I want to learn’ because everybody at some point has got to be a bit bullish and say what they think.

“For me to win a stage would be amazing, that’s going to be very hard, but I’m all in for it.

“I think we’ve got a really nice team and a good team who support those ambitions of trying for a stage win, so why not give it a go and see what happens?”

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