By Nigel Wynn
Friends Life has signed up as the title sponsor for the Tour of Britain, the race's organiser announced on Tuesday morning.
The pensions and investments group sponsored the inaugural Women's Tour in May, and has now stepped up its commitment to British cycling with a new deal.
Andy Briggs, group chief executive of Friends Life, said: "Cycling is now hugely popular in Britain and we want to encourage and support its growing popularity by sponsoring the Tour of Britain. The success of the inaugural Friends Life Women’s Tour has fuelled our enthusiasm for elite road racing and the inspiration it brings to a wider cycling audience.
"These tours are not only a great test of strength, endurance and ability for the race participants, they also bring together family and friends in support of the race and highlights the mental and physical benefits of cycling to all."
Hugh Roberts, chief executive of Tour of Britain organiser SweetSpot added: "We are delighted to be renewing and extending our partnership with Friends Life to encompass the two biggest cycling Tours in the UK.
"Friends Life are the perfect ‘fit’ and their plans for activating their involvement will no doubt prove to be ground breaking, not just for the events themselves, but more importantly in our eyes, for the greater good of the sport."
The 2014 Tour of Britain starts in Liverpool on September 7 and concludes after eight days of racing in London on September 14.
Five stages that could shape the Tour de France 2022
Just five of the 21 days of racing which could see the fight for yellow tipped on its head
By Tim Bonville-Ginn •
US amateur rider handed four-year doping ban after winning cat three race
The 49-year-old was tested after his win in the Arizona State Championships this summer
By Alex Ballinger •