Team line-ups are starting to take shape for the forthcoming Tour of Ireland (August 21-23), and there are a host of European-based British pros making the journey.
Topping the bill alongside Lance Armstrong is sprinter supreme Mark Cavendish. His Columbia-HTC team will be looking to control the peloton to set up the Tour de France star for a stage win.
In a dangerous lineup, they can also boast defending champion Marco Pinotti and world time-trial champion Bert Grabsch. Vicente Reynes, Craig Lewis, Frantisek Rabon and Morris Possoni are the other riders on Columbia’s roster.
The Cervélo Test Team lineup has a decidely British feel to it. Former national champions Roger Hammond and Jeremy Hunt will be men to watch after impressing at the Tour of Denmark, while Dan Fleeman and Daniel Lloyd are aiming to get back on track after injury setbacks.
Irishman Phillip Deignan is also riding, and will be highly motivated to perform well on home soil.
Saxo Bank’s Irish challenge is spearheaded by world championship bronze medallist Matti Breschel. The fast Dane is joined by former Paris-Roubaix winner Stuart O’Grady, Tour of Denmark winner Jacob Fuglsang, Karsten Kroon, Kurt-Asle Arvesen and British neo-professional Jonny Bellis.
In total, sixteen teams are racing the three-day Tour of Ireland, which starts in Enniskerry on August 21: Astana, Team Columbia-HTC, Irish National Team, AN Post-Sean Kelly Team, Saxo Bank, Cervélo Test Team, Rapha Condor, CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta, Australian National Team, Joker-Bianchi, Rabobank (Continental), BMC Racing, ISD-Neri, MTN Energade, Team Type 1, Team Halfords-Bikehut.
Pinotti wins Tour of Ireland
Tour of Ireland race website