Bradley Wiggins will return to defend his Tour of Britain title, something that no rider has managed in the modern incarnation of the race, Team Sky confirmed this morning.
Wiggins dominated last year's edition, with only IAM's Martin Elmiger finishing within a minute of him on GC.
And although the 34-year-old has previously stated a return to the event was likely, this is the first time his team have confirmed as much.
Sky's line-up shows that they mean business in a race that they struggled to mount an overall challenge in prior to 2013; Ian Stannard, Ben Swift, Bernie Eisel, David Lopez and Sebastien Henao complete their six-man roster.
Eisel, Lopez and Stannard supported Wiggins en route to his overall title 12 months ago.
Belkin's Lars Boom is the second former winner of the race among today's provisional startlist. Boom, who won in 2011, notably claimed victory in the cobbled stage of this year’s Tour de France.
Another expert on pavé, this year’s Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra, joins Mark Cavendish in the Omega Pharma-Quick Step line-up.
As predicted by CW, fledgling youngster Michal Kwiatkowski also heads to Liverpool to compete in the race.
WorldTour Brits Alex Dowsett (Movistar) and Steve Cummings (BMC) will also start, as will Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo), Tour de France top-10 finisher Leopold König (NetApp-Endura), French favourite Sylvain Chavanel (IAM) and Giro d’Italia stage winner Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani-CSF).
Recent Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic winner Adam Blythe (NFTO) leads the charge from Britain's domestic teams. Former King of the Mountains winner Kristian House spearheads Rapha-Condor-JLT's attack; their line-up also includes Tour of Korea champion Hugh Carthy.
Elite Road Series winner Yanto Barker (Raleigh), multiple Tour Series round victor Tom Scully (Madison-Genesis) and Steve Lampier (Giordana Racing Team), the third-best Brit in last year's race, are also in action.
This year's Tour of Britain begins in Liverpool on Sunday. To view the full startlist, click here.
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