On Saturday, July 2, five British riders will line up on the Passage du Gois
to take part in the 2011 Tour de France: Bradley Wiggins, Geraint Thomas, Ben Swift (all Sky), Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) and David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo).

It’s hard to imagine a more successful line-up of riders representing Britain at the race. All five have taken major victories already this season and all five have very definite aims at this year’s Tour.

Expectations for British results at the 2011 race are high. With prospects for the overall classification (Wiggins) and individual stage wins (all five), this year’s Tour promises to be a good one for British fans.

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

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Bradley Wiggins continues in race lead, Criterium du Dauphine 2011, stage four

Bradley Wiggins

Team: Sky

Date of birth: 28/04/1980

From: Born in Ghent (Belgium), grew up in London

2011 wins so far: Criterium du Dauphine overall; Bayern Rundfahrt stage (ITT); British road race national championship

2010 Tour de France performance: 24th overall

How will he do? Wiggins is Britain’s brightest hope for a Tour de France podium position since Robert Millar in the mid-Eighties. Wiggins equalled Millar’s 1984 British record of fourth place overall in 2009 with the Garmin team. A switch to the British-based Sky team last year didn’t help Wiggins, who now admits that he felt overburdened by expectation. This year, things couldn’t be more different. Wiggins won the prestigious Critérium du Dauphiné in June, blasting through the time trial stage that followed virtually the same route as the Tour’s final test against the clock and limiting his time losses in the mountains. More importantly, Sky looked like a winning team – supporting their man for the victory all the way. Wiggins goes into the Tour wearing the jersey of British national champion for both road and time trial disciplines.

Full rider profile>>

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Mark Cavendish, Tour of Oman, stage six

Mark Cavendish

Team: HTC-Highroad

Date of birth: 21/05/1985

From: Isle of Man

2011 wins so far: Tour of Oman stage; Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen; Giro d’Italia two stages

2010 Tour de France performance: Five stage wins; 154th overall

How will he do? Britain’s most successful cyclist in history enters the 2011 Tour with an eye on winning the coveted green jersey of points classification winner as well as bagging as many stages as he can. Cavendish lost out last year in the points classification to Italian Alessandro Petacchi, despite the Manxman’s tally of five stage wins. Two solid stage wins at the Giro in May show his Grand Tour form has no sign of waning and who would bet against Cav winning on the Champs Élysées on the Tour’s final day for a record-breaking third consecutive year? 

Full rider profile>>

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David Millar on podium, Giro d

David Millar

Team: Garmin-Cervelo

Date of birth: 04/01/1977

From: Scotland

2011 wins so far: Giro d’Italia stage (ITT)

2010 Tour performance: 158th overall

How will he do? Though in the final years of his professional career, Millar looks to be as strong as ever and will be seeking stage wins from breakaways and in the long individual time trial stage around Grenoble the day before the race finishes. He became the first British rider to wear each of the three Grand Tour leader’s jerseys at the Giro in May and won the race’s final time trial stage. Will also be assisting whichever Garmin rider is currently in the top ten and lining Tyler Farrar up for the sprints on flat stages.

Full rider profile>>

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Geraint Thomas, Bayern Rundfahrt 2011, stage four

Geraint Thomas

Team: Sky

Date of birth: 25/05/1986

From: Cardiff, Wales

2011 wins so far: Bayern-Rundfahrt overall

2010 Tour performance: Second on stage two; Spell in white jersey; 67th overall

How will he do? Last year Thomas established himself as an extremely valuable member of Sky in its debut year at the Tour, placing second behind Thor Hushovd on the cobbles of stage three and earning himself four days in the white jersey of best young rider. This year, he will be one of Bradley Wiggins’ key helpers. He’ll also play a big part during stage two’s team time trial, for which Sky rank as one of the favourites for the win.

Full rider profile>>

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Ben Swift on the podium, Tour de Romandie 2011, stage five

Ben Swift

Team: Sky

Date of birth: 05/11/1987

From: Rotherham

2011 wins so far: Tour Down Under two stages; Vuelta a Castilla y Leon stage; Tour de Romandie stage; Tour of California stage

2010 Tour performance: Not applicable, did not ride

How will he do? Ben Swift goes into the 2011 Tour de France as Britain’s most successful rider this season in terms of wins, with five major victories – one better than Mark Cavendish. It’s been his breakthrough season as a professional, and the prospect of a British sprint match between Swift and Cavendish is tantalising. Really though, it’ll be more of a Tour of experience for the 23-year-old, so we’re expecting top five stage finishes rather than out-and-out wins. Of course, we’d love to be proved wrong. Swift will be writing a blog for Cycling Weekly during the race.

Full rider profile>>

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Tour de France 2011: Related links




Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

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