GREAT BRITISH PRESENCE FOR TOUR OF BRITAIN

The Tour of Britain (September 7-14) is shaping up to have a very strong home presence. High Road had already been confirmed and could bring Mark Cavendish, Roger Hammond and Bradley Wiggins to race on home roads.

Now Barloworld have been confirmed and it is likely Geraint Thomas and Steve Cummings will be part of the team, with perhaps even Chris Froome, who swapped his Kenyan racing licence for a British one in the spring, appearing too.

The Irish An Post-M.Donnelly-Grant Thornton-Sean Kelly team are also signed up, and are likely to field Dan Lloyd and Dan Fleeman.

And of course there?s the domestic challenge from Rapha-Condor-Recycling, Pinarello and Plowman Craven. Add to that a Great Britain team that will be made up of the Academy riders who are based in Italy plus a more experienced guest star or two.

Just as Hammond rode the Tour of Britain for the national team a couple of years ago, Rod Ellingworth will hope to draft in one of the professional riders whose team has not entered the race to pass on a bit of know-how.

Other teams confirmed so far include Topsport Vlaanderen (Belgium), South Australia, Palmeiras Resort (Portugal) and Team MTN (South Africa).

Tour of Britain stages

1 London circuit

2 Milton Keynes ? Newbury

3 Chard ? Burnham-on-Sea

4 Worcester ? Stoke-on-Trent

5 Kingston-upon-Hull ? Dalby Forest

6 Darlington ? Gateshead

7 Glasgow ? Dumfries & Galloway

8 Blackpool ? Liverpool

COOKE SET FOR GRANDE BOUCLE, BUT NOT WITH HALFORDS

Next week Nicole Cooke is to defend the Grande Boucle Feminine title she won in 2006 and 2007 with a one-off appearance for the Swift Racing team after it was decided not to enter a full Halfords or Great Britain team in the event.

Read the full story.

POOLEY TO RETURN FOR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Emma Pooley (Specialized) is set to return for the National Championships in North Yorkshire on Saturday, June 28. She will go head-to-head with Halfords Bikehut riders Nicole Cooke and Sharon Laws in what promises to be the most competitive women?s national road race for many years. Cooke will be aiming for her ninth national title and eighth in a row.

NEWTON NINTH IN TOUR DE BEAUCE STAGE THREE

Chris Newton (Rapha-Condor-Recycling) was a fine ninth on the toughest stage of the Tour de Beauce so far.

The hilly 153-kilometre leg from St Georges to the top of Mont Mégantic was won by former mountain bike world champion Miguel Martinez of France.

Newton was just 38 seconds down and has climbed to 13th overall, 2-04 down on the leader, Bernardo Colex Tepoz of Mexico.

Two other Rapha riders had a very good day too. Ryan Bonser was 17th on the stage, 1-17 down, and Graham Briggs was 23rd, at 2-28. It was a boost for Briggs, who had been hoping to contest the sprint on Wednesday?s second stage only to puncture in the final kilometre.

SWIFT SLIPS A BIT IN GERMANY

Ben Swift (Great Britain) was 16th on stage three of the under-23 Thuringen-Rundfahrt, 1-24 behind the winner, Dominik Klemme of Germany. It means Swift has slipped out of the top ten overall and now lies 16th at 1-40.

Great Britain Acadamy coach Rod Ellingworth said: ?We got Jonny McEvoy across to a front group of about 16 so it took the pressure off the rest in the bunch. Jonny rode really well to get across to it and then it was just a case of waiting for the final two climbs. I was a bit surprised though because they [the peloton] chased it down quite early.

?Then a group of five went away. One punctured, one crashed, leaving three. Swifty attacked at the bottom of the last climb, a seven-kilometre climb, and gave it everything. He finished just off the back of a little group that formed.

?It was pretty good. We tried to give Ben every opportunity to go flat out and he did that.?

Today (Friday) sees a 151-kilometre road stage where Great Britain will try to set Swift up for a shot at a stage win. Saturday?s lumpy 32-kilometre time trial is where he will hope to move up a little overall. ?Tomorrow?s a real roadman?s circuit, up and down with a 12 per cent climb on it. Swifty?s really up for it and I think he can pull a little bit back. He only needs to pull back 20 seconds or so and he could be back in the top ten. That?d be a nice little result here,? said Rod.

Peter Kennaugh finished 36th on the stage, at 2-24, with Alex Dowsett 59th at 3-48, Jonny Bellis 63rd at 3-51, Jonathan McEvoy 75th at 8-26 and Mark McNally was 87th at 13-41. Today (Friday) sees a 151-kilometre road stage before tomorrow?s lumpy 32-kilometre time trial, where Swift will hope to move up a little overall.

HIGH ROAD BRITS AT STER ELEKTROTOER

Mark Cavendish, Roger Hammond and Bradley Wiggins are slated to start the five-day Dutch stage race, the Ster Elektrotoer, which starts on Tuesday. Cavendish said: ?It?s the kind of stage race that could suit me. There?s a couple of sprints, then a day that?s a bit like Amstel and a day that?s like Liège-Bastogne-Liège. I?ll contest the sprints but on the other days I?ll just ride round. I?d like to have a go for the gc in a race like this soon but with the Nationals and the Tour coming up it?s not the right time.?

HUNT ALSO IN HOLLAND

Jeremy Hunt (Crédit Agricole) lines up in a new three-day Dutch stage race, the Delta Tour Zeeland, which starts today (Friday) with a three-kilometre prologue. Saturday and Sunday see two road stages on the rolling roads of south-west Holland near the Belgian border. Ian Stannard, who had initially been on Landbouwkrediet’s start list, did not start the race.

WEGELIUS FIGHTS ON

Despite being by his own admission dog-tired after finishing the Giro d?Italia, Charly Wegelius is riding well in the Dauphiné Libéré. He was in the group that contained Cadel Evans, Alejandro Valverde and Carlos Sastre on yesterday?s tough opening mountain stage, finishing in 30th place. It leaves him in 30th place overall, 4-41 down on Valverde.

COX FINISHES FIFTH IN CANADA

Leda Cox completed an excellent week?s work by clinching fifth place in the Tour de Prince Edward Island in Canada. The Menikini-Selle Italia team dominated overall, completing a one-two-three with Kori Kelly Seehafer, Nathalie Bates and Trine Schmidt. Cox was fifth at 2-56.

FROOME IN PORTUGAL

Chris Froome (Barloworld) finished 4-56 down on the opening stage of the GP Internacional in Portugal as he continues to work himself back into form after a short break from racing following the death of his mother. Ireland?s Dan Martin (Slipstream), a former British junior road race champion, was in the second group, which finished 27 seconds down on the leaders. The stage was won by a Spaniard, Francisco Jose Pacheco, ahead of Baden Cooke (Barloworld).

LLOYD AND FLEEMAN IN FRANCE

The two Dans, Lloyd and Fleeman (An Post) both finished in the first bunch on the first stage of the Ronde de l’Oise in northern France yesterday. Lloyd crashed on a wet corner in the first part of the race but is not injured. The race finishes on Sunday.

PREMIER CALENDAR RESUMES

Don?t miss our preview of Sunday?s Beaumont Trophy

CW’s British news round-up returns on Monday with all the weekend’s news. Have a pleasant weekend.

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