Young British rider Dan McLay says that while he's happy to be riding the Tour for the first time, he's aiming for stage victory
Dan McLay aims large this July even if it is his first Tour de France. He says, he dreamed of winning at the race when he was a boy, not just racing. Now, leading the sprints for French team Fortuneo-Vital Concept he would be happy with simply a sprint win.
The 24-year-old Brit already placed top ten in the first three sprints, taking seventh on Tuesday when the stage raced into Limoges.
“Yeah of course,” he said when asked if he was thrilled to be racing his first Tour. “But as a kid you don’t dream of racing, you dream of winning. It would be nice to get a stage in the bag some day in the next few years.”
McLay could already do so this year. The French professional continental team, he joined last year in his first year as a professional, identified six opportunities in the Tour for him. McLay explained that Thursday’s stage six is already a chance.
Watch: Tour de France stage four highlights
“I’m happy with my level. I’ll keep trying to get up there,” McLay said as he readied his Look bike for the stage five start.
“I partly didn’t expect the consistency that I’ve had. You don’t always expect to come through that five to one kilometre to go bit. I’m just a bit disappointed with how the last one kilometre has been going. But I’m learning every day. Just need to be a bit more confident and go long. When the door opens just go.”
McLay won the Madison world title as a junior with Simon Yates and placed second in the junior Paris-Roubaix behind Belgian Jasper Stuyven. He struggled to get a contact, but found a place through 2017 with the French outfit last year known as Bretagne – Séché Environnement. This season, he already won the GP de Denain and the GP de la Somme.
Fortuneo gave him a chance to race the Tour de France early into his career when other WorldTour teams might not have. He paid them back immediately with places and WorldTour points. He took ninth twice behind Mark Cavendish’s wins and yesterday behind Marcel Kittel, seventh.
“Yesterday, I was on and off the pedals and it kills your legs. So a bit more confidence,” he said.
“I just need more confidence in my own legs. I’m not giving them [the stars] more space than anyone else. Obviously, it’s a bit difficult when you don’t have a full train but I’m not complaining about that. That’s just the way it is. We’re getting better as a team – we’ve not had much time together. But I’m a bit on my own at the end.”
McLay, who said he is around 1.86m and 80kg (please put in your terms), plans to push through the mountains as far as he can to have a chance in Paris. He wants to fulfil his dream, maybe not to win the Tour, but at least to have a chance in a stage victory.
“We’ll see how the legs go,” he added. “I don’t think there’ll be a day when I go back to the hotel and say ‘I don’t want to continue.'”