All six of Britain’s UCI-ranked domestic teams will ride this year’s Tour of Britain, which starts in Peebles, Scotland, on Sunday.
However, if you’re a bit confused and you don’t know your Bibbys from your Barkers, Cycling Weekly will this week be giving you a beginners’ guide to the sextet of squads. Here, DS Simon Howes introduces IG-Sigma Sport.
Tour of Britain participations: 3 (2010, 2011, 2012)
Stage wins: 0
Jersey wins: 0
Best result: 24th overall, Russell Hampton (2011)
CW: What does the Tour of Britain mean to you?
Simon Howes: “Personally, it’s my first Tour of Britain so I’m very excited about that. I’ve watched it on TV and on the roadside before, but to be a sports director is a fantastic opportunity. The sponsors we have – IG and Sigma Sport – are local to the final two stages, so the bigger the crowds the better!”
CW: Is exposure more important than the results?
SH: “I always want my riders to be aggressive, and that means riding near the front and being visible, which is what we did for Ride London in the first hour. Our goal that day was to get in the day’s break, which we missed, but as the TV pictures proved, we were visible and active. I don’t want to see riders sitting back and enjoying the day, they’re there to get stuck in.”
CW: Can you talk us through your Tour of Britain line-up?
SH: “The whole team come with plenty of experience. Matt Cronshaw had a crit focus this season, and probably didn’t achieve what he wanted to, but he has come on strong at the end of the year and won the Jef Schils Memorial at the start of the month. The whole team raced in Belgium after that, and Matt performed very, very well. I signed Ben Greenwood for the Tour of Britain team. He comes with experience of big events, which is what you need for the race. He has the ability to perform at that level. Pete Hawkins came into some great form at the Ras earlier on this year, he got the race lead but unfortunately crashed out. He’s work very hard to come back from that, and those hours he’s put in will hopefully will come through at the Tour of Britain.
James Moss (above) is reliable and consistent. We call him our road captain – he’s very active, he likes to lead from the front, but is also very calm. Wouter Sybrandy moved on very quickly from his nasty crash at the end of last year’s Tour of Britain, he was putting in some great rides back in February. I don’t think this year’s race is about getting rid of any demons. – he’s a racer, and he just wants to be involved and if anything, the crash is a motivator. Pete Williams has started the most Tour of Britains out of anyone in the team. He did brilliantly to win a jersey last year, and we know that’s not easy to do, which says a lot about him as a rider.”