British pros head home to fight for worlds places
There is no Great Britain team in this year’s Tour of Britain but the 102 riders on the start list includes many of the British professional who ride for European teams and many of the contenders for a place in the Great Britain team for the world championship road race in Mendrisio.
Cummings, Thomas and Froome with Team Barloworld
Steve Cummings, Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome lead a strong Team Barloworld line-up that also includes Colombian climber Mauricio Soler and Carlo Scognamiglio. South African sprinter Robert Hunter was entered for the race but will not travel to Britain, apparently due to visa problems. He will ride the one-day Rund um Nurberger Altstadt race in Germany on Sunday.
Both Cummings and Thomas have had an up and down season but are back on form and will be looking to secure their place in the Great Britain with strong performances in the Tour of Britain.
Cummings finished a close second to Geoffroy Lequatre (Agritubel) last year. Both he and Thomas could win overall if they get in the break that usual decides the race. If they not they will target stage victories during the week.
Lloyd and Fleeman with Cervelo Test Team
The Cervelo Test Team has confirmed that Dan Lloyd and Dan Fleeman are part of their line-up for the Tour of Britain. Also riding are Serge Pauwels, who is rumoured to be joining Team Sky in 2010, Oscar Pujol, Martin Reimer and Italian stagiaire Davide Appollonio.
Roger Hammond is not riding the Tour of Britain because he is aiming to finish the Vuelta Espana.
Lloyd suffered a thigh problem in early August that slowed his summer but he rode well at the Tour of Ireland, despite a lack of training, and could be an overall contender at the Tour of Britain. Fleeman broke his scaphoid in the late spring and has been trying to find his form ever since. He has made it clear he is not a contender for the world championships squad but has spent time in Tenerife training for the Tour of Britain and so could be back on form.
Swift with Katyusha
Ben Swift is part of a powerful Katyusha team that includes Italian national champion Filippo Pozzato, sprinter Danilo Napolitano and Vladimir Karpets.
Swift won the climber’s jersey in 2007 Tour of Britain but was then overlooked for a place in the Barloworld team. He signed his contract with Katyusha just a few minutes after finishing four in last year’s Under 23 world championships and quickly proved he deserved it by almost winning stages in the Tour of the Basque Country and the Giro d’Italia.
He may have to work for Napolitano and Pozzato but if he gets a chance in a sprint, there is no reason why he can’t win a stage.
Stannard with ISD-Neri
ISD Stannard fractured two bones in his foot during the Great Britain training camp in August. He has recovered quickly and is back on the bike but his injury will make it tough for him to repeat his third place of last year.
Stannard always raises his game when racing at home and loves to get stuck in the often hectic sprints at the Tour of Britain. He will have a free hand in the ISD-Neri team, so watch out for his florescent green jersey in the sprints.