STOCKTON cyclist Scott Auld rides for Italian team Zappi. I’ve been speaking to him about how his season has gone so far and his hopes for the future

Matt: How has the season started for you?

Scott: The season started off well, I had good legs and was looking to build up to the big races in Italy with the early season Spanish stuff. I had a small setback with illness but after another few weeks I was back on track and beginning to get the season going in the right direction.

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Matt: Where have you been competing?

Scott: I started off racing in Spain early season, but the majority of the season has been spent in Italy with the exception of short trips to Belgium for Liege-Bastogne-liege Espoirs and the Flèche Ardennes and to France for the Ronde l'Isard.

Matt: What has been your best result and how did you achieve it?

Scott: My best result was quite recently in the Oberösterreich-Rundfahrt - a tour of North Austria. I finished the four-day stage race with ninth on the final GC, second in the youth classification and sixth and fourth on the first and fourth stages respectively. This came off the back of a good block of hard racing so I managed to get myself up there on the first stage after which it was all about holding on to that front group in the harder stages to keep that position on GC.

Matt: What are you riding?

The Northern Echo:

Scott: I'm riding the brand new aero Colnago Concept. It's a great bike that is very stiff and very fast, it sticks to the road great on fast descents and you can really feel the extra speed from the aero design. I've done almost 15,000km on it this year already and I still enjoy it as if it was the first time riding it.

Matt: How do you like being away from home?

Scott: I love being away from home and exploring new places and I've seen some amazing sights and scenery also met some amazing people but I still get a warm feeling inside driving back up the a19 when I see the north York moors because there's no place like home.

Matt: What is the best and worst part of training for you?

Scott: The best part is probably the social aspect of being able to go out for a casual ride on an easy day and enjoy the summer weather and maybe stop for a cheeky coffee. The worst part is probably bad weather, as well as long solo rides that can become a bit of a slog.

Matt: What races do you have coming up?

Scott: My next race is the Giro Della Valle d'aosta - a mountainous stage race in the Alps. I'll see how the legs are and probably try and help the team out because I feel the finishes don't really suit me because all of them are up hill. After that I'll return home for a few weeks to rest and recover then hopefully do the Ryedale Grand Prix before returning to Italy for the last part of the season.

Matt: When the season is over, how will you judge whether it has been a success or not?

Scott: This season for me has been a make or break year. So far I have hit all the goals I have set for myself, now it's about getting a few more confirmation results so teams know they weren't a fluke. Ultimately, the season will be a success if I manage to get myself a good contract next year for a good development team where I can continue to grow but also step up the level of races I'm doing to some even harder races with top pros.

Matt: Finally, who will win the Tour de France?

Scott: That's a hard one, from what we have seen so far this year it could be really interesting. I personally can't discount Chris Froome though as he has got the full package now. As well as experience and strength he has the power of belief on his side after already smashing it so many times. However, I feel the only safe bet in this year's tour is (Peter) Sagan for the points jersey.