Two Tour de France winners will be heading for the roads of Warwickshire in the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain.
Race organisers have announced that the two Team Sky riders, Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome who placed first and third in July’s Tour de France, will both be on competing when the biggest event in domestic cycling comes to the county on September 5.
Thomas, the first Welshman to top the podium in the Tour de France when he won the event last month, is a regular at the OVO Energy Tour of Britain, having ridden it eight times since his debut with a Great British national team in 2005.
Froome is a four-time winner of the Tour de France, the current Giro D’Italia and Vuelta a Espana champion and one of the biggest names in the history of the sport
Race Director Mick Bennett said: “We’re honoured and thrilled that Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome will lead Team Sky at this year’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain.
“To have two of Britain’s greatest ever riders - the reigning Tour de France and Giro d’Italia winners no less - competing in the race is fantastic news for our fans, who will line the streets in order to catch a glimpse of the heroes.
“We saw the amazing response that Geraint received during his homecoming celebrations in Cardiff last week - the fact that Stage One on Sunday 2 September takes place entirely within Wales means the whole country will be able to celebrate his incredible success in France from the summer.
“Since he last rode in the race, Chris has become - without any doubt - the leading Grand Tour rider of his generation. We’re delighted to welcome him back to the OVO Energy Tour of Britain after his Tour, Giro and Vuelta successes in the past year.”
The riders set off from Nuneaton for the fourth stage of the event on September 5 at 11am and head towards Atherstone before taking in the North Warwickshire countryside and then arrive in Meriden.
They will then head to the University of Warwick, before passing Kenilworth and Warwick Castles. Heading south into Stratford upon Avon, competitors will also have to take on three SKODA King of the Mountain climbs again – an ascent of more than 1,700 metres.
The first of those will be at Ilmington, before the second at Edge Hill, just on the outskirts of Arlescote while the third comes in Burton Dassett Country Park.
The race will then head through Moreton Morrell, Wellesbourne, Kineton, Tysoe and Shipston-on-Stour, Fenny Compton and Southam, and then towards Princethorpe in Rugby before finishing in the centre of Royal Leamington Spa.
The course has been designed to allow spectators to watch it from several points along the way and full details of road arrangements are set to be announced later this month.
Thomas finished sixth overall in 2009 and wore the British Road Race Champion’s jersey during the race in 2010, while his seventh-placed finish in the 2017 edition also saw him crowned the Adnams Best British Rider.
Froome’s two participations to date came in 2007 and 2009. He placed 31st overall in the former, while two years later (when he lined up alongside Thomas as part of the Barloworld-Bianchi team) he finished 50th.
Already confirmed for the 2018 OVO Energy Tour of Britain are Team KATUSHA ALPECIN’s Marcel Kittel and Alex Dowsett – both of whom are former stage winners and race leaders in the event. Further rider announcements will follow in due course; the race’s provisional startlist will be published on Friday 24 August.
For the second year running, each stage of the race will be shown live and in full on ITV4. Presenter Matt Barbet will be joined former pro rider Yanto Barker and Rebecca Charlton, with Marty MacDonald and Rob Hayles providing the commentary. Eurosport will also air daily live coverage.
The OVO Energy Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event, giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their doorstep, taking place between Sunday 2 and Sunday 9 September 2018.