WHEN Jenson Young is on the startline of the Tour of Britain in Penzance, he might have to pinch himself a little.
He will be looking across at the Tour de France’s joint all-time leading stage winner, Mark Cavendish.
He will also feel the presence of Belgian Olympic silver medalist Wout van Aert and catch a glimpse of Julian Alaphilippe’s world champion rainbow jersey.
But he will have the support of a full county behind him in the colours of Cornish team Saint Piran.
The week-long tour kicks off in Cornwall, with a 180k ride to Bodmin on Sunday and the 20-year-old from Hemingfield is delighted to be a part of it.
Looking across at jerseys from powerhouse outfits Ineos Grenadiers, Team Jumbo Visma, Deceunick Quickstep and Movistar fills the former Penistone Grammar School pupil with excitement rather than trepidation.
“It is something you see on TV, rather than something you are involved in,” said Jenson, who will be one of a six-man team.
“I will have to quickly get used to it and try to be as good as them.
“To be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Cav and van Aert is crazy really. A lot of the big teams are using it as preparation for the World Championships.
“It’s going to be a massive event for the team, with it starting in Cornwall.
“At the minute I am just over the moon to be selected. It would be good to get in a breakaway but I have no expectations. It’s just a case of seeing what we can do as a team.”
Jenson’s route to the Cornish outfit was as long and winding as the roads in the beautiful but remote county.
A chance meeting with veteran rider and Saint Piran team-mate Steven Lampier paved the way.
He said: “We often went to Cornwall on holiday and I was in a cycling shop down there and they said Steve was coming in. So I waited around to meet him.
“He was a hero of mine and he followed my progress on Instagram.
“Three or four years ago he did a cyclo-cross race that I was in and I beat him by a few minutes.
“He figured out then that I was pretty good and asked me if I would like to join his team.”
Young has a strong background in cyclo-cross and picked up a host of wins as a junior.
Transferring that form to the road is a challenge he is relishing but knows time is on his side.
He added: “Riding in cyclo-cross gives you plenty of different skills.
“Your bike handling is going to be better than someone who has just ridden on the road.
“To be honest, I am not sure what kind of rider I am yet.
“I am still in the young rider category until I am 23, so there is a lot of time.”
The Tour of Britain is eight stages long, starting in the south west and travelling through Wales and the northwest of England before finishing in Aberdeen on September 12. The race is televised on ITV4.