WORCESTER will play host to some of the top names in the cycling world, including Sir Bradley Wiggins, when the Tour of Britain visits the city in September.
The peddling Knight's presence was confirmed after his Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford said Wiggins will ride the Tour to hone his form ahead of his assault on the time trial world championship title at the end of September.
“Bradley will go to an altitude camp, then do a couple of one-day races then ride Tour of Britain," announced Brailsford. "Hopefully that will give him the right preparation for the World Championships.”
Wiggins will line up against ten teams which raced in last month's Tour de France, an event he controversially missed, after the final list of entrants for the Friends Life sponsored Tour was announced. It comprises 20 squads, including seven UCI Pro Teams from the sport's top level, including the outfit currently ranked number one in the world, Movistar Team. In total six of the world's top 10 teams will take part, with four of the top five ranked squads competing. There will also be the Great Britain national squad.
On Wednesday , September 10, stage four of the race will be coming to Worcestershire on a route that starts from the Hive in Worcester at 10.30 am and travels through Bransford, Malvern, Upton, Pershore, Evesham and Broadway before leaving the county and heading towards its final destination in Bristol.
The event, formerly known as the Milk Race, the Kellogg's Tour and the PruTour, has been to the county several times before, but not since 1999, when police motorcyclist David Hopkins was killed in an accident while escorting the riders along the main Worcester-Malvern road at Newland.
"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,” said race director Mick Bennett. "Not only do we have a very strong line-up of teams, half of whom raced in the Tour de France, we are confident that they will be bringing their best possible squads, meaning fans can look forward to seeing the world's top riders, some exciting racing and maybe a few surprises this September.”
The complete list of teams competing in the 2014 Friends Life Tour of Britain is: UCI Pro Teams - Belkin Pro Cycling (Netherlands), BMC Racing Team (USA), Garmin Sharp (USA), Movistar Team (Spain), Omega Pharma Quick-Step (Belgium), Team Giant Shimano (Netherlands), Team Sky (Great Britain) and Tinkoff Saxo (Russia). UCI Pro Continental Teams - Bardiani CSF (Italy), IAM Cycling (Switzerland), MTN Qhubeka (South Africa), Team NetApp Endura (Germany) and Team Novo Nordisk (USA). UCI Continental Teams - AN Post Chain Reacton (Ireland) and Madison Genesis, NFTO Pro Cycling, Giordana Racing Team, Rapha Condor JLT and Team Raleigh ( all Great Britain). Plus the Great Britain national team.