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The Sky team of defending champion Bradley Wiggins plus seven other WorldTour teams have been confirmed for next month’s Tour of Britain, which begins in Liverpool on Sunday 7 September and finishes eight days later in central London.
Sky – which is expected to include Wiggins in his lineup after the team confirmed he would not do the Vuelta a España – will be joined by Belkin Pro Cycling, the BMC Racing Team, Garmin Sharp, Movistar, Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Giant Shimano and Tinkoff Saxo.
The BMC Racing Team and Team Novo Nordisk are both making their debuts in the event.
Also confirmed by the organisers on Wednesday are the ProContinental teams Bardiani CSF, IAM Cycling, MTN Qhubeka, NetApp Endura and Team Novo Nordisk.
Six of the world’s top ten teams will participate; four of those are ranked in the top five squads in the world.
Race director Mick Bennett said that there was high demand for the race, which will be ranked a 2.HC event for the first time.
“Every year we get a very positive response from teams wishing to ride the Friends Life Tour of Britain and this year that has been even more so the case,” he said
“Not only do we have a very strong line-up of teams, half of whom raced in the Tour de France, but we are confident that they will be bringing their best possible squads. It means fans can look forward to seeing the world’s top riders, some exciting racing and maybe a few surprises this September.”
Under UCI rules the participation of UCI Continental teams in a 2.HC-ranked race is normally limited to those from the host country. The country’s five Continental squads will indeed take part, namely Madison Genesis, NFTO Pro Cycling, Giordana Racing Team, Rapha Condor JLT and Team Raleigh.
However the Irish-registered An Post Chainreaction Sean Kelly team was able to secure an exemption and will also take part.
It won a stage last year with Sam Bennett. The Irishman has since moved to the NetApp Endura team and told CyclingTips in recent days that the event would be a big target if the team were invited. That has proved to be the case.
The Great Britain national team will complete the lineup.
The Tour of Britain is now backed by the Friends Life company, and will enjoy both live coverage plus highlights on ITV and British Eurosport.