Organisers of the Tour of Britain have announced some details of next year's edition of the race.
Quashing speculation that the race may extend to nine or more stages, there will again be eight stages - the same number as this year - run from Saturday September 12 to Saturday September 19, 2009.
The final stage will be held around the same central London Westminster circuit as used for this year's opening stage.
The race retains its Union Cycliste Internationale 2.1 status, allowing organisers to offer places to a mix of ProTour, Continental Professional, Continental and national squads. Twenty teams have so far registered an interest in participating in the 2009 event.
2008 TOUR OF BRITAIN HAILED A SUCCESS
Tour of Britain highlights shown on digital television channel ITV4 garnered an average of 310,000 viewers per evening show - with a peak of 376,000 viewers for stage five to Dalby Forest. This apparently compares well with Tour de France highlights shown in July on the same channel. Visitors to the race's own website were up 40 per cent over the previous year.
ARMSTRONG TO RIDE?
The Tour of Britain organisers have also announced that they have invited Lance Armstrong and his Astana team to compete in the 2009 edition of the race.
An official invitation has been sent to the seven-time Tour de France winner, and if accepted, would be the American's first appearance in the British race.
Tour of Britain: www.tourofbritain.co.uk
National televised criterium series announced