British sprinter Dan McLay said he is determined to make it all the way to Paris, as he makes his debut in the Tour de France.
The 24-year-old is riding for his French squad Fortuneo-Vital Concept, after the Pro Continental team was awarded a wildcard spot in the Tour, and is contesting his first start in a Grand Tour. However, despite never having ridden a race longer than eight days, McLay told Cycling Weekly he has no plans to leave the three-week, 21-stage race early.
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“Yeah for sure, I can try 100 per cent to do that [get to Paris],” McLay said. “There’s no plan to leave early, I’ll just try and suffer all the way to do the end.
“I’ve never done a race more than eight days so after that we’ll see, but your legs are still going to hurt after day two, that’s not going to change because the race is three weeks, you’ve just got to get your head around it.”
The Leicester-based rider, who is in his second season with the Brittany-based team, took his first professional victory in April, at the GP Denain with an perfectly timed sprint finish, in which he moved from 12th place to first in just a few metres, swerving past his opponents. He followed it with a win at GP de la Somme – ahead of Cofidis’s Nacer Bouhanni – in May.
McLay revealed he only found out he was officially in the team’s Tour line up last Sunday night after he raced at the British National Championships road race in Stockton-on-Tees. And although he said he’s not got specific results in mind for what he wants to achieve in the race, he’s hopeful of getting some good performances, particularly in the first week.
“I think it’s always good in every team to take a sprinter, for the first week especially. I think that’s just the plan to try and get up there in a few sprints and surprise a few people,” he said.
“There’s no big pressure in some sense, but yeah at the same time I hope to do well.”