Poels finished the 2015 race as overall runner-up behind winner Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) having won the key stage to Hartside Fell in Cumbria.
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Joining Poels on Sky’s six-man roster is Italian sprinter Elia Viviani, fresh from his gold-medal-winning performance in the omnium at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Viviani secured three stage wins in the 2015 edition of the race, including the final stage in London.
British riders Ian Stannard and Ben Swift are both Tour of Britain veterans, and return to the race as team support as well as seeking their own opportunities for stage victories should they arise.
Irishman Nicolas Roche and Dutch sprinter Danny Van Poppel complete the strong line-up.
Team Sky are one of 10 WorldTour level teams taking part in the 2016 edition of the Tour of Britain.
Poels and Viviani will face some stiff opposition in the fight for the general classification and sprint stage wins respectively.
Tom Dumoulin heads up Giant-Alpecin’s team, Rohan Dennis and Taylor Phinney will be there for BMC and André Greipel leads Lotto-Soudal.
British riders to watch include Mark Cavendish and Steve Cummings (both Dimension Data), Alex Dowsett (Movistar), Bradley Wiggins (Team Wiggins) and a host of riders from British-based squads looking to mix it up with their WorldTour counterparts.