Whitby’s Team Wiggins rider Michael Thompson has hailed the fantastic support he had competing in front of a hometown crowd in the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire.
The 20-year-old, from Moorsholm, was invited to compete for Team Wiggins alongside Olympics hero Sir Bradley – and the day did not disappoint.
“It was always going to be special and having my family and friends watching and cheering on with banners just gees you on,” Michael told the Whitby Gazette.
“It was amazing – all three days I had brilliant support from the crowds.
“It was great to be on local roads and be part of such a great event.
“It was massive and you only realise afterwards how much of a big event it was and I really enjoyed it. With it being the first tour, hopefully it’s something that will keep going in the future.”
Among those cheering on mountain biker Michael, now based in Manchester as part of an Olympic development programme, was his sister Sarah, along with friends Brooke Clark and Emily Tindall, waving a home-made ‘Go Mike Go’ banner.
“The whole family is excited,” said Sarah.
“My mum and dad are in the middle of lambing and we only found out a few days prior to the race that he’d made the team.”
Michael – who hopes to turn professional as a mountain bike racer – finished in the top 50 but said the main aim was to complete all thee stages of the course, rather than aim for a particular finishing position.
He said cycling has taken off massively in the country.
He said the sport owed much to British success in the 2012 Olympics which made the likes of Mark Cavendish household names and “gave us people to look up to.”
Before the race last Friday, Michael warned that even the pro riders might not find it easy competing on the area’s narrow, snaking roads.
There was a major crash at Egton when competitor Tim Declercq rode into a hedge after failing to negotiate a bend on the slippery road, with other riders also going over.
“When you are on your own, you can use the road and not squash together,” said Michael.
“When you are so totally packed in together, you cannot afford to make a mistake.
“That’s what happened on Egton bank but luckily I just avoided that.
“It’s one of those things but knowing the roads helped.”
Michael is now looking forward to the first World Cup events of the mountain bike series, in the Czech Republic and Germany on May 24 and 31.
Michael’s friend Beverley Muir supplied us with a photo of him riding up Danby’s Briar Hill alongside team-mate Sir Bradley Wiggins.
She added: “We are all very proud of him.”