A strong British contingent gives high hopes of a first home victory in the Tour of Britain since the event’s revival in 2004.
The Tour starts in Scunthorpe tomorrow (Saturday) with 24 British riders scheduled to be on the start line.
Last year Steve Cummings of Barloworld was runner-up to Frenchman Geoffroy Lequatre overall – the best performance by a British rider since Robert Millar won the Kellogg’s Tour of Britain in 1989.
Even with the likes of Roger Hammond and David Millar racing at the Vuelta a Espana, and Mark Cavendish and Jeremy Hunt, who have been at the Tour of Missouri, absent, there’s a strong British presence.
Motivation will be high too, with places in the World Championship team potentially at stake.
And with Cummings, Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, Russell Downing and Ian Stannard all confirmed as Team Sky riders for 2010 there’s even more reason to impress on home soil.
But can one of the British riders win the race?
After his ride at the Tour of Ireland, Downing will be one of the favourites. Or maybe it will be Ben Swift, who has won the king of the mountains competition in the Tour of Britain before, who will impress? What about Cummings and Stannard, who were second and third last year? Or perhaps Dan Lloyd or Chris Froome, who are both good climbers? While he won’t win overall, it’s remarkable to think that Malcolm Elliott won the Kellogg’s Tour of Britain overall in 1988, 21 years ago, when Swift and Stannard were still in nappies.
This is also a great chance to see many of Team Sky’s new recruits in action for the first time since the announcements were made.
As well as the British riders who will be in their colours next year, there’s also Edvald Boasson Hagen and Thomas Lövkvist, riding for Columbia-HTC and Lars Petter Nordhaug (Joker-Bianchi) in action this week.
Who do you think will be Britain’s best-placed rider overall come London on September 19? Make your pick in the comments section below.
THE BRITISH IN ACTION
TOUR OF BRITAIN WINNERS AND BEST-PLACED BRITISH RIDERS
1st Mauricio Ardila (Colombia) Chocolade Jacques
12th Roger Hammond (Great Britain) Mrbookmaker.com
1st Nick Nuyens (Belgium) Quick Step
9th Yanto Barker (Great Britain) DFL
1st Martin Pedersen (Denmark) CSC
9th Russell Downing (Great Britain) DFL
1st Romain Feillu (France) Agritubel
16th Evan Oliphant (Great Britain) DFL
1st Geoffroy Lequatre (France) Agritubel
2nd Steve Cummings (Great Britain) Barloworld
BRITISH TOUR OF BRITAIN STAGE WINNERS
2005 Roger Hammond (Blackpool)
2006 Roger Hammond (Liverpool)
2007 Mark Cavendish (Crystal Palace)
2007 Mark Cavendish (Southampton)
2007 Paul Manning (Glasgow)