British sporting heroes, Tokyo 2020 medallists, world champions and former stage and jersey winners will all feature in this year’s Tour of Britain (Sunday 5 – 12 September), the full start list for which has today been revealed.
Just days out from the start of the race and first-ever stage to take place in Cornwall, provisional line-ups for the 18 competing teams have been made public for the first time.
Among those competing are:
Sprinter Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), winner of the most stages in modern Tour of Britain history
Tokyo 2020 medallists Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo – Visma), Ethan Hayter and Rohan Dennis (INEOS Grenadiers)
Reigning UCI road world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step)
Former Tour of Britain stage winners Michal Kwiatkowski (INEOS Grenadiers), André Greipel, Alex Dowsett, Matthias Brändle (Israel Start – Up Nation) and Tony Martin (Team Jumbo – Visma)
Cycling stars Marc Soler (Movistar Team), Dan Martin, Michael Woods (Israel Start – Up Nation) and Richie Porte (INEOS Grenadiers)
Four of the race’s former ŠKODA King of the Mountains winners: Xandro Meurisse (Alpecin – Fenix), Lukasz Owsian (Team Arkéa – Samsic), Nic Dlamini (Team Qhubeka NextHash) and Jacob Scott (Canyon dhb SunGod)
Five reigning national road race champions, four reigning time trial champions
20 different nationalities represented
Deceuninck – Quick-Step, the most successful team in modern Tour of Britain history, will be led by fan favourites Cavendish and Alaphilippe. The Manxman won the last three of his 10 stage victories in the race riding for the Belgian team in the 2013 edition, and returns to Britain after a spectacular Tour de France in which he won four stages and the points jersey.
Frenchman Alaphilippe, who will be easily distinguishable to roadside spectators owing to his world champion’s rainbow jersey, has been tipped by many to repeat the overall victory he achieved in the 2018 race.
Van Aert, winner of three Tour de France stages in July and silver medallist in the Olympic road race, spearheads Jumbo-Visma’s team. Alongside Kiwi climber and Grand Tour top-10 finisher George Bennett, Norwegian road race champion Tobias Foss and Australian all-rounder Chris Harper, van Aert is one of four riders in their squad who will make their Tour of Britain debuts in 2021.
INEOS Grenadiers, the world’s number one team, have once again named a strong team for the Tour of Britain, led by Londoner, Tokyo 2020 silver medallist and recent Tour of Norway winner Ethan Hayter. Polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski and Welshman Owain Doull are both former Tour of Britain podium finishers; Kwiatkowski and Australian Rohan Dennis have also previously won stages of the UK’s biggest bike race. Richie Porte, third overall at the 2020 Tour de France, returns to the event for the first time since his 2010 debut.
Three Tour of Britain stage winners – André Greipel, Matthias Brändle and Briton Alex Dowsett – feature in Israel Start – Up Nation’s powerful line-up. The Tour will be one of the final races of Greipel’s prestigious 16-year career, during which time he has claimed over 150 victories. The German sprinter has remarkably won at least one stage in each of his four visits to the Tour of Britain, amassing seven victories in total. He is also one of only five men in modern race history to have won stages in England, Scotland and Wales. Brändle won back-to-back stages in the 2014 Tour, the first of which came in Exeter, which hosts the finish of stage two on Monday 6 September, while Essex rider Dowsett triumphed in our London individual time trial 10 years ago. Irish star Dan Martin and Canadian Michael Woods add to the team’s tactical options.
Other stars competing include trailblazer Nic Dlamini (Team Qhubeka NextHash), who became the first black South African to compete in the Tour de France in 2021, renowned stage race talent Marc Soler (Movistar Team) and 2018 British road race champion Connor Swift (Team Arkéa-Samsic).
In addition to INEOS Grenadiers, six other home squads will be in action at the 2021 Tour of Britain: Canyon dhb SunGod, Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling, Saint Piran, SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling, TRINITY Racing and a GB national team.
Canyon dhb SunGod’s six-man team includes Scott and Rory Townsend, winners of the ŠKODA King of the Mountains and Eisberg sprints jerseys in the 2019 race. The Cornish Saint Piran will make their Tour of Britain debut on home roads, with local rider Steve Lampier appearing in their six-rider squad. SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling’s roster for their second appearance in the race includes former Team Sky rider and paracyclist Will Bjergfelt.
Highly-rated Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling rider James Shaw is enjoying a fantastic season, having already finished fifth in the Tours of Slovenia and Norway, while TRINITY Racing’s line-up includes hotly-tipped Irish road race champion Ben Healy.
Tour of Britain race director Mick Bennett said: “The fact that we were unable to run the Tour of Britain in 2020 was enough to raise the excitement level going into this year’s event. Yet, combined with the truly spectacular and challenging route we’ve designed, the quality of this year’s start list makes me believe that we’re about to witness one of the most exciting editions of the modern race to date.
“We look forward to seeing the roads of Great Britain lined with spectators all the way from Penzance to Aberdeen, and I would encourage everybody planning to attend the race to respect their fellow spectators and, of course, the riders, as well as following local COVID-19 guidance. See you all next week – I can’t wait!”
Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider Mark Cavendish said: “It is always an honour to race on the home roads of the Tour of Britain. It is a race where I have always enjoyed success and I am really looking forward to racing with what I know will be a strong Deceuninck – Quick-Step team. It has already been a special year for me and riding the Tour of Britain will be a great way to see so many of the people who have supported me throughout.”
World champion Julian Alaphilippe said: “I am really looking forward to racing the Tour of Britain, which will be my last in the rainbow jersey, that I have been so proud to wear for the last 12 months. I had a successful race in Britain the last time I was there in 2018, and I know it will be a hard-fought race this time. It will be the perfect race for me to take on, ahead of the world championships. We come here with a strong team and will look to race hard, as we always do.”
Following the Tour’s opening stage in Cornwall, the route will take the riders for a gruelling day of racing in Devon that features 3,499m of climbing between Sherford and Exeter. Stage three sees Carmarthenshire host an 18.2-kilometre team time trial before the famous Great Orme in Llandudno hosts stage four’s hill-top finish.
A first-ever stage finish in Warrington is followed by an undulating cross-Pennine trek from Carlisle to Gateshead on stage six, which the finish taking place in the shadows of the award-winning Angel of the North sculpture. The race ends with two Scottish stages; the 2021 champion will be crowned in Aberdeen on Sunday 12 September.
The Tour of Britain is shown live and in full on ITV4, as well as in over 150 countries around the world, and attracts an annual roadside audience of over 1.4 million fans.