OLYMPIC legend Sir Bradley Wiggins and champion rider Mark Cavendish are among the cycling royalty set to pass through West Devon in September for this year’s Tour of Britain.
Organisers of the tour announced this week that the event will feature ten of the UCI’s (Union Cycliste Internationale) top level World Tour teams for the first time ever, with the teams from the top tier of the sport making up half the field.
Among those teams will be Team Dimension Data, which won the 2015 Tour of Britain with Edvald Boasson Hagen, and now boasts Mark Cavendish.
They will be joined by the likes of regular Tour of Britain participants team Sky, Movistar team, BMC Racing team and Cannondale Drapac, while team Giant Alpecin, Orica Bike Exchange and Trek Segafredo return having not competed in 2015.
Team Wiggins will also race, with Sir Bradley Wiggins having already publicly stated that he intends to ride the Tour of Britain following his bid for gold at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Two UCI ProContinental teams will be making their Tour of Britain debuts — the SpanishCaja Rural — Serguros RGA team, from whom Preston’s Hugh Carthy rides and the Belgian Wanty — Groupe Gobert team, which includes former SKODA King of the Mountains Mark McNally.
Having won both the Yodel Sprints and Skoda King of the Mountains jerseys with Peter Williams in 2015, One Pro Cycling returns for its second Tour of Britain, its first as a UCI ProContinental team.
Commenting on the line-up, Tour of Britain race director Mick Bennett said: ‘This is a world-class line up of teams entirely befitting of the Tour of Britain’s continuing growth in stature and importance on the global cycling calendar.
‘Half of the teams selected are currently racing in the Tour de France, giving British fans a taste of the high-level of competition which they can look forward to watching this September.’
Jonny Clay, British Cycling director of cycle sport and membership, said: ‘The fact that ten World Tour teams have confirmed their place on the start line in Glasgow at this year’s Tour of Britain is a fantastic endorsement and underlines the strong reputation that the event now holds within an ever increasingly competitive inter-national calendar. We are greatly looking forward to the spectacle of a world class peloton racing on British roads this September.’
It will be the largest number of UCI World Tour teams to compete in Britain at any point since the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014.
The sixth stage of the tour, from Sidmouth to Haytor on Dartmoor, will see the 20 teams in total pass by North Tawton, Spreyton, Whiddon Down, Sandy Park and Easton near Chagford on Friday, September 9.
The route is almost a repeat of the thrilling 2013 stage, which saw almost 250,000 spectators line the county’s roads and helped to boost the local economy by £5.9-million.