TOUR de France winner and Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins headlines The Tour of Britain’s provisional start list, released today.
Wiggins, who last night received GQ magazine's Lifetime Achievement Award from Liam Gallagher, will lead a Sky team which also includes Tour de France sprint ace and reigning World Champion Mark Cavendish.
The Tour of Britain comes to Devon on Saturday, September 15 with a stage which starts in Barnstaple and ends in Dartmouth.
It is the Tour's penultimate stage, and it is expected that the hills of Dartmoor and the South Hams will be decisive in sorting out the overall race positions.
The provisional start list (DOWNLOAD A FULL START LIST HERE) contains stage winners from all three Grand Tours, including seven Tour de France stage winners, with 31 victories to their name, 23 of them falling to the world’s number one sprinter and current World Road Race Champion Cavendish.
There is plenty of local interest among the 96 starters.
South Devon rider Jon Tiernan-Locke will be on the Endura Racing team. He won the King of the Mountains prize on last year's Tour and led the field across Hay Tor in front of massive crowds.
He was ranked number one in Europe after a stunning start to the 2012 season and is seen by many as a genuine contender for the overall victory.
Locke, who is a member of the Newton Abbot-based Mid Devon Cycle Club, is widely tipped in the cycling press to be bound for Team Sky next season.
Their line-up will be led by Wiggins and will include Totnes veteran pro rider Jeremy Hunt.
Yanto Barker, from Dartington, rides for the Team UK Youth squad, as does Truro rider Chris Opie. Former Formula One world champion Nigel Mansell is the team owner.
The rider list also contains four Tour de France jersey winners – Ivan Basso (2002 Best Young Rider), Cavendish (2011 Green Jersey), Samuel Sanchez (2011 King of the Mountains) and Wiggins (2012 Yellow Jersey).
Six Giro d’Italia stage winners and six Vuelta a Espana stage winners are also on the list, while five of the riders lining up for this year’s Tour of Britain are Olympic medallists, including 2012 Individual Time Trial Champion Wiggins.
Seven teams line up for The Tour having competed in this summer’s Tour de France, while Orica GreenEDGE, Liquigas – Cannondale, Saur Sojasun and Team UK Youth all make their Tour of Britain debuts.
Riders from 16 teams and of 23 different nationalities make up the start list for this year’s Tour of Britain, which gets underway in Ipswich on Sunday, for Stage One through Suffolk and Norfolk to the Norfolk Showground.