Not since 1968 have so many British riders taken to the start line of the Tour de France. On Saturday, July 3, eight Britons and a British-based team will ride in the opening prologue of the 2010 Tour ushering in a new and exciting era for British cycling.

David Millar (Garmin-Transitions), Jeremy Hunt, Daniel Lloyd (both Cervelo), Charly Wegelius (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia), Bradley Wiggins, Steve Cummings and newly crowned British national champion Geraint Thomas (all Team Sky) are all on the start list.

The British-based Sky squad makes its Tour debut this year, the first time that a British team has taken part in the race since ANC-Halfords in 1987.

Last year, Wiggins equalled Robert Millar’s 1984 record for highest placed British rider in the Tour, with fourth place. Manx sprint ace Cavendish won an astounding six stages, cementing his position as Britain’s most successful professional rider in the history of the sport. Both are back for more this year.

Here we profile all eight of Britain’s riders in the Tour, and as the race progresses we will be posting regular updates.

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Mark Cavendish, Tour of California 2010, stage 1

Mark Cavendish

Team: HTC-Columbia

Date of birth: 21/05/1985

From: Isle of Man

2010 wins so far: Tour of Catalonia stage; Tour de Romandie stage; Tour of California stage

2009 Tour performance: Six stage wins, 131st overall, second in points classification

How will he do? After scoring a massive six stage wins in last year’s race, expectations for Cavendish will be running high even though the parcours offers slim pickings for the pure sprinters. His run-up to the race has been less than perfect, dogged by tooth problems, crashes and inappropriate finish-line hand gestures… but the Manxman has said all along that the green jersey and world championships in September are his two big goals for the year. And when Cavendish sets his sights on something, he usually gets it.

Full rider profile>>

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Wiggins celebrates Giro 2010 stage 1

Bradley Wiggins

Team: Team Sky

Date of birth: 28/04/1980

From: Born in Ghent, grew up in London

2010 wins so far: Giro d’Italia stage one ITT

2009 Tour performance: Fourth overall

How will he do? Wiggins will be feeling the weight of expectation on his shoulders. Fourth last year, and with a new British-based team built around his Tour aims, Wiggins is being touted as Britain’s best Tour hope in recent history. He tested his legs in the Giro, snatching the opening time trial win and spending a day in the leader’s jersey – and he could do the same at the Tour. This year’s mountains stages are hard – the final week in the Pyrenees will be key and will test Wiggins and the Sky team to its limit. Not good news for Wiggins is that there are only two time trials – the short prologue and penultimate 59km test. If he limits his losses in the mountains and blitzes the final TT, a podium place will be within his grasp.

Full rider profile>>

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David Millar wins Three Days of De Panne 2010

David Millar

Team: Garmin-Transitions

Date of birth: 04/01/1977

From: Scotland

2010 wins so far: Criterium International stage; Three Days of De Panne stage and overall

2009 Tour performance: 85th overall

How will he do? Pre-doping ban, Millar was Britain’s Grand Tour golden boy, wth Tour de France stage wins in 2000, 2002 and 2003 (later anulled). A two-year suspension for taking EPO could have finished the Scot, but he came back to the Tour in 2006 a changed man. Now, with Wiggins and Cavendish taking up the ‘British Tour rider’ limelight, Millar has been quietly and effectively building up his stage racing form, winning a time trial stage of the 2009 Vuelta a Espana and clinching the overall win in the 2010 Three Days of De Panne with some canny riding. The raw talent is there, as it always has been, but now there’s a smarter racing brain to match. Look out for him in the time trials and individual stage wins.

Full rider profile>>

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Geraint Thomas leads points classification, Criterium du Dauphine 2010, stage 3 ITT

Geraint Thomas

Team: Team Sky

Date of birth: 25/05/1986

From: Cardiff, Wales

2010 wins so far: British road race national champion

2009 Tour performance: Did not ride

How will he do? Newly-crowned British road race national champion Thomas has had a new lease of life at Team Sky, putting in some immensely strong performances across the board. In early June, Thomas placed fourth behind Alberto Contador in the time trial prologue of the Criterium du Dauphine and then placed in the top ten of the following four stages, including a long time trial. He’s there as a key helper for Wiggins, but could well place top ten in the opening prologue. We’re looking forward to seeing Thomas in the British national champ’s colours at the Tour and can think of no better rider to wear them.

Full rider profile>>

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Steve Cummings, Giro d'Italia 2010

Steve Cummings

Team: Team Sky

Date of birth: 19/03/1981

From: Wirral

2010 wins so far: None

2009 Tour performance: Did not ride

How will he do? Cummings is a solid domestique and capable of turning on the style in the escapes and breaks if the opportunity arises – as he again proved in this year’s Giro d’Italia where he placed fifth on stage 17 after getting into a break. Could do something similar in the Tour, but will most likely be seen riding alongside Sky’s overall contender Wiggins.

Full rider profile>>

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Charly Wegelius, Tour de France 2009, stage 19

Charly Wegelius

Team: Omega Pharma-Lotto

Date of birth: 26/04/1978

From: Born in Finland, grew up in England

2010 wins so far: None

2009 Tour performance:
59th overall

How will he do? Seasoned grand tour campaigner Wegelius is another Brit who seems to have found a new lease of life this season. During the Giro in May, Wegelius could be seen instigating escapes and attacks rather than playing nursemaid to an overall contender. He’s a good climber and could well make a go of a break on one of the hillier stages. With no Cadel Evans to look after and with no clear overall rider on its squad this year, the Omega Pharma team will have to rely on stage wins for some badly-needed coverage. Can Wegelius be their man?

Full rider profile>>

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Jeremy Hunt, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2010

Jeremy Hunt

Team: Cervelo Test Team

Date of birth: 12/03/1974

From: Macklin

2010 wins so far: None

2009 Tour performance: Did not ride

How will he do? Hunt has been handed his first ever Tour de France ride in his 15th year as a professional, and at the age of 36. He had a solid Tour de Suisse a couple of weeks ago, catching the eye of his Cervelo Tour team selectors. Will be there as lead-out man for Thor Hushovd in his green jersey campaign and as a helper for overall hope Carlos Sastre, particularly during the opening stages in Holland and Belgium – Hunt’s favoured landscape.

Full rider profile>>

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Dan Lloyd, Cervelo Test Team, 2010

Daniel Lloyd

Team: Cervelo Test Team

Date of birth: 11/08/1980

From: Christchurch, Dorset

2010 wins so far: None

2009 Tour performance: Did not ride

How will he do? Dan Lloyd is one of the hardest working men in the peloton. His race schedule this season would make most grown men cry. He was Carlos Sastre’s right-hand man at the Giro, helping him to climb back up the overall classification after a torrid opening week. Lloyd is likely to be repeating this sterling back-up job at the Tour.

Full rider profile>>

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Photos by Graham Watson, Andy Jones and Gregor Brown

Related links

Tour de France 2010: Who’s riding?

Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index – including stage previews, maps, news and more

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins

  • john

    re top of page re britrs why is the british flag upside down
    congrats bbc

  • Ken Evans

    More successful than the England football team ?
    UK press coverage, more than the England football team ?