Tour of Britain 2009: Cycling Weekly's full coverage
The 2009 Tour of Britain starts on Saturday, September 12, in Scunthorpe before embarking on eight stages, finishing with a criterium around Westminster, London, on Saturday, September 19.
This year's UCI 2.1-ranked ToB looks set to be one of the best yet since it's rejuvenation six years ago. Both team list and stage profiles promise to provide an exciting mix of racing.
Last year's race was won by Geoffroy Lequatre (Agritubel), who returns to defend his crown against some stiff competition. Among them will be last year's runner-up Steve Cummings. The British Barloworld rider lost to Lequatre by just five seconds.
There's no doubt, though, that many British fans will turn out at the roadside to watch Bradley Wiggins. The British star placed fourth in this year's Tour de France and heads up Garmin-Slipstream's ToB team.
Also watch out for many riders who will be riding under the colours of Team Sky next year: not least 2008 triple ToB stage winner Edvald Boasson Hagen who leads Columbia-HTC in the absence of Mark Cavendish, currently riding the Tour of Missouri in America.
There's no individual time trial in the 2009 ToB, so the racing will be close. The overall classification will likely take shape in the tough Scottish and northern stages (two to four) and then shaken up in the two stages in the West Country (six and seven) that feature challenging courses after a hard week of action.
Some long transfers between stages remain for the riders - and fans following the race - but it's a much more joined-up route than previous editions.
The final stage (eight) around Westminster is more of a showcase than a way of deciding the overall winner. In any case, it is a spectacle worth making the trip to watch, with the riders passing many world-famous London landmark on their way to the race's conclusion.
Cycling Weekly will be posting news updates, race reports, photo galleries, interviews and analysis throughout the Tour of Britain here on www.cyclingweekly.co.uk.
Tour of Britain 2009: The stages
A full preview of the route can be found in Cycling Weekly magazine, September 10 issue.
Stage 1: Scunthorpe-York, 172.6km - won by Chris Sutton
Stage 2: Darlington-Newcastle Gateshead, 153.3km - won by Kai Reus
Stage 3: Peebles-Gretna Green, 153.8km - won by Edvald Boasson Hagen
Stage 4: Blackpool-Blackpool, 148km - won by Edvald Boasson Hagen
Stage 5: Britannia Stadium-Stoke on Trent, 134km - won by Edvald Boasson Hagen
Stage 6: Frome-Bideford, 183.7km - won by Edvald Boasson Hagen
Stage 7: Hatherleigh-Yeovil, 159.7km - won by Ben Swift
Stage 8: Westminster, London, 92.5km - won by Michele Merlo
Tour of Britain 2009: The teams
17 teams and 102 riders make up this year's start sheet. It's a heady mix of ProTour, Professional Continental and the best of British.
Cervelo Test Team
Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
Tour of Britain 2009: TV schedule
Tour of Britain highlights will be aired on ITV4 the evening after each of the eight stages from 7-8pm (September 12-19), with repeats the following day.
Tour of Britain: Previous winners
2008: Geoffroy Lequatre (France)
2007: Romain Feillu (France)
2006: Martin Pedersen (Denmark)
2005: Nick Nuyens (Belgium)
2004: Mauricio Ardila (Colombia)
Tour of Britain 2009: Related links
Brits set the pace during stage six
Wilkinson battered after stage four
Wiggins quits ToB to focus on TT World Champs
Downing in the mix after magical adjustment
Lapthorne goes on the attack and into the spotlight
Tour of Britain goes mad for Wiggins
Downing aiming high in Tour of Britain
Can a British rider win the Tour of Britain?
British pros head home to fight for Worlds places
Halfords hit the Tour of Britain
Rapha-Condor names Tour of Britain squad
Cavendish to miss Tour of Britain
Katusha and Rabobank announce Tour of Britain teams
Tour of Britain and Tour Series on ITV4
Tour of Britain 2009 route unveiled
Stage eight: Boasson Hagen wins overall
Stage seven: Swift takes stage to Yeovil
Stage six: Boasson Hagen makes it four
Stage five: Boasson Hagen takes control
Stage four: Boasson Hagen makes it two
Stage three: Hagen does it again
Stage two: Dutchman Reus wins second stage at Tour of Britain
Stage one: Sutton wins opening stage of ToB
Guide and info
Tour of Britain 2009: Start list
Tour of Britain official website