Matt and Wendy Scully might be returning overseas sooner than they thought after news this week of their son, Tom, being selected to ride in the Tour de France.
Tom Scully's cycling career started in Southland and has taken him all over the world. His family, friends and supporters are rapt to learn he will be riding for the United States team EF Education First-Drapac P/B Cannondale - nicknamed Pink Argyle.
He will be the first Southlander to ride in the Tour de France (3351km), which is held from July 7 to 29.
Southlander Tom Scully was told this week he would be riding in the Tour de France.
"We've just come home from following him [Tom] around all the classic races in Belgium and France for six weeks," Matt Scully, of Cromwell, said.
"I'd love to go back over [for the Tour de France] ... it's on our mind," Matt said.
"We're so proud of him. The sacrifices he's made, being disciplined in many ways."
Matt believed one of the first signs of Tom's talent appeared when he easily won the OJ Henderson Wheel Race at the old Kew Bowl outdoor track in January 2006.
Attempts by The Southland Times to contact Tom in France on Friday were unsuccessful.
Cycle Surgery Invercargill owner Glen Thomson gave Tom after-school and weekend work. They have kept in contact and always catch up when Tom spends part of the summer in Cromwell and Invercargill.
"He really deserves it [riding in the Tour de France] ... we're super-proud of him," Thomson said.
Having a Southlander riding in the Tour de France was great news on several fronts, Cycling Southland general manager Mark Hotton said.
"It's fantastic for Tom, fantastic for our organisation and for our young riders to have someone from Southland in the world's greatest race."
Tom's achievement would provide incentive and motivation for young riders, Hotton said.
The EF Education First-Drapac P/B Cannondale team confirmed Tom's selection after a training camp in Spain. The organisation's head sport director, Charly Wegelius, said: "Tom's reliability and racing skills have made him a must for big events in our team over the last 18 months."
When Tom rides in the Tour de France, he will have competed in Europe's top three cycling races, the others being Giro d'Italia (Tour of Italy) and Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain).
The three races are collectively known as the Grand Tours.
Article courtesy STUFF, photo courtesy Matthew Beaudin