Olympic medallist Mark Cavendish is to take part in this year’s Tour of Britain, which arrives in the Peak District next month.
Britain’s record Tour de France stage winner Cavendish - who secured his first Olympic medal earlier this week with silver in the Omnium track event at the Rio games - is among the first top competing riders announced for Britain’s biggest professional cycle race, which gets underway on September 4.
Stage Three of the event, on Tuesday September 6, will feature a first visit to Cheshire East with a stage from Congleton to Tatton Park outside Knutsford. The challenging leg will take in the A537 Cat and Fiddle road on the outskirts of Buxton, a steep climb of more than ten kilometres and the longest and highest climb of the entire 2016 race.
It will be the Manxman’s first race post-Olympics, ahead of the World Road Race Championships in Qatar in October.
Cavendish, who has ten Tour of Britain stage wins to his name, has been confirmed as a part of the Team Dimension Data provisional roster alongside Steve Cummings, who won Stage Seven of the Tour de France this summer, and is a two-time Tour of Britain runner-up.
Making his debut in the Tour of Britain will be former UCI World Hour Record holder Rohan Dennis, who won the opening stage time trial of the 2015 Tour de France. He will head the BMC Racing Team line-up alongside Taylor Phinney, a World Champion on both the road and track, who raced in the Tour of Britain last September.
They will be joined in the provisional BMC Racing Team line-up by Rick Zabel, the son of legendary Tour de France Green Jersey winner Erik, who is returning for his third consecutive Tour of Britain.
Further announcements of provisional rider line-ups will follow next week ahead of the publication of the full provisional rider list for the Tour of Britain.
Race Director Mick Bennett said: “In Mark Cavendish and André Greipel we have two of the world’s top sprinters, who are both already multiple Tour of Britain stage winners, while we are delighted that BMC Racing Team will be bringing two outstanding time trialists in Rohan Dennis and Taylor Phinney to the race.
“This is the first of several exciting rider announcements that fans can look forward to and will build excitement for what will be another world-class edition of the Tour of Britain.”
In Mark Cavendish and André Greipel we have two of the world’s top sprinters, who are both already multiple Tour of Britain stage winners.Mick Bennett, Tour of Britain Race Director
Stage Three will begin with the riders heading out from the market town of Congleton, before the peloton makes its way west, passing through Crewe and Nantwich, and then looping back on themselves towards Sandbach.
From there it is a weaving route north up towards the first passage of the finish line, which will be located in the heart of Tatton Park, where spectators will be able to see the race twice, plus watch the live coverage on a big screen.
After passing the line, riders will start a large loop taking them into the Peak District, including the ten-kilometre climb up to the Cat and Fiddle Inn, the second highest public house in England at 515 metres above sea level.
At the summit, the riders will turn back on themselves along the A54 down towards the Bosley crossroads, before racing back through Knutsford to the finish in Tatton Park.
Bennett added: “Stage Three will present spectators with the chance to see the Tour of Britain on multiple occasions, not least of which at the finish in Tatton Park where we will have a passage of the line mid-afternoon, making it one of the best spectating locations on this year’s route.
“The stage combines the gently rolling roads of the Cheshire Plain with some key climbs such as the Cat and Fiddle in the Peak District.”
Derbyshire does not feature in this year’s race, having hosted a stage of the 2015 Tour of Britain. The county also welcomed the Aviva Women’s Tour last month.
Daily live coverage of the Tour of Britain will be featured on ITV4, with the channel broadcasting a three-hour live programme from each stage, plus one-hour of highlights every evening during the race.
The 2016 Tour of Britain in full
Stage One - Sunday September 4 - Glasgow to Castle Douglas - 168km
Stage Two - Monday September 5 - Carlisle to Kendal - 195km
Stage Three - Tuesday September 6 - Congleton to Tatton Park, Knutsford - 182km
Stage Four - Wednesday September 7 - Denbigh to Builth Wells - 217km
Stage Five - Thursday September 8 - Aberdare to Bath - 205km
Stage Six - Friday September 9 - Sidmouth to Haytor, Dartmoor - 150km
Stage Seven a - Saturday September 10 - Bristol Stage Individual Time Trial - 15km
Stage Seven b - Saturday September 10 - Bristol Stage Circuit Race - 76.5km
Stage Eight - Sunday September 11 - London Stage presented by TfL - 100km