Eight medallists from the Rio Olympics headline the start list for the 2016 Tour of Britain, which gets underway from George Square in Glasgow on Sunday (4 September).
A trio of Gold medallists in Sir Bradley Wiggins, Owain Doull and Elia Viviani headline the 126-rider list for the eight day race that will finish in central London on Sunday 11 September.
30-time Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish is one of five Silver medallists, alongside Tom Dumoulin and Australian team pursuit trio Jack Bobridge, Alex Edmondson and Michael Hepburn.
“It is fantastic to be able to welcome eight medallists from the Rio Olympics to the Tour of Britain, less than three weeks since British fans will have watched their successes on television,” said Race Director Mick Bennett, himself a double Olympic Games Bronze medallist in the Team Pursuit (1972 & 1976).
“The field for this year’s Tour of Britain is without parallel, with star quality wherever you look among the teams. Fans at the roadside and watching around the world on television can expect to see some great racing in front of a backdrop of stunning British scenery. Such is the quality of the field it is hard to pick a likely winner, but tough stages in Wales and the Westcountry, including the Haytor summit finish and individual time trial in Bristol will be key to winning the Yellow Jersey presented by Eisberg.”
The rider list also includes six current national road race champions, led by British Champion Adam Blythe who will ride for the Great Britain team, and six national time trial champions, which includes a pair of former UCI World Hour Record holders Alex Dowsett and Rohan Dennis and three-time World Time Trial Champion Tony Martin.
Alongside Wiggins, Dylan Van Baarle is one of two former Tour of Britain winners in the field, while past British Road Race Champions Kristian House and Russell Downing ride for the ONE Pro Cycling and JLT Condor presented by Mavic teams respectively.
Likely to be contesting the sprints alongside Cavendish and Viviani, who are both multiple Tour of Britain stage winners, are Tour de France sprint ace Andre Greipel, double Giro d’Italia Points Jersey winner Giacomo Nizzolo, Dutch national champion Dylan Groenewegen and Australian rising star Caleb Ewan.
The 2016 Tour of Britain route features some of the toughest climbs used in the UK’s national Tour, including The Struggle in the Lake District (Stage Two), Cheshire’s Cat & Fiddle (Stage Three) and the Haytor summit finish in Devon (Stage Six). Among the riders looking to contest the SKODA King of the Mountains jersey at these points will be Liege-Bastogne-Liege winners Wout Poels of Team Sky and Etixx Quick-Step’s Tour de France top 10 finisher and Classics rider Dan Martin.
As well as stars of the present the Tour of Britain will continue to shine a light on future stars of the cycling world, with Adrien Costa, the youngest rider in the race at just 19-years and 23-days, and Tao Geoghegan Hart two to watch. The pair have recently contested the Tour de l’Avenir, a mini-Tour de France for Under-23s, finishing 3rd and 6th overall respectively.
In total 21 teams will contest the 2016 Tour of Britain, including 11 UCI WorldTour teams, the highest number to have competed in Britain since the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart.
Seven British teams will line-up for the Tour of Britain, led by Team Sky and also including Team WIGGINS and a Great Britain national team.
Spectators in Scotland will have the chance to meet all of the teams at a free-to-attend Team Presentation event on Saturday (3 September) evening in George Square, Glasgow with events and activities from 4pm.
Three-hours of live coverage will be broadcast from each stage of the Tour of Britain, with both ITV4 and the BIKE Channel UK showing the race live, while ITV4 will also air a one-hour highlights programme each day.
In addition to the Yellow Jersey presented by Eisberg non-alcoholic wine and SKODA King of the Mountains jersey, two other jerseys will be up for grabs during the Tour of Britain. The Chain Reaction Cycles Points Jersey is awarded to the most consistent finisher across the eight-days, while the winner of the intermediate sprints classification will wear the Yodel Sprints Jersey, sponsored by parcel delivery and logistics company Yodel.
Adnams will present a prize for the Best British Rider overall, and sports nutrition company HIGH5 the daily Combativity Award.
The Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their door step.