The 20 teams for the 2017 OVO Energy Tour of Britain have today been announced, in a line-up that will feature 10 UCI WorldTour teams, plus a further three squads that have competed in one of the two Grand Tours so far in 2017.
All of the top five teams in the current UCI WorldTour rankings – Quick-Step Floors; Team Sky; BMC Racing; Movistar Team; and Orica Scott – will battle it out in the race, which will pass through Northumberland.
Returning to the OVO Energy Tour of Britain will be Team Katusha Alpecin, who have confirmed Alexander Kristoff, winner of the European Championship Road Race and Prudential RideLondon–Surrey Classic on consecutive weekends, and his teammate World Time Trial Champion Tony Martin, who won the Bristol stage last year, as part of their provisional line-up.
Alongside Kristoff, the OVO Energy Tour of Britain looks set to attract the world’s top sprinters, with Team Dimension Data’s Mark Cavendish targeting the Tour to return from his Tour de France injury, and Sky’s Elia Viviani publically aiming to add to his four stage wins in the race.
Viviani’s Team Sky teammate Geraint Thomas has already vowed in interviews to race the OVO Energy Tour of Britain for the first time since 2011, with the overall finish of the Tour in his home city of Cardiff for the first time on Sunday, September 10.
Commenting on the line-up, OVO Energy Tour of Britain Race Director Mick Bennett said: “We are delighted with this year’s line-up of teams for the OVO Energy Tour of Britain and with riders of the calibre of Geraint Thomas, Mark Cavendish and Alexander Kristoff coming out to say they will be targeting the OVO Energy Tour of Britain, this bodes for a fantastic spectacle for fans at the roadside and watching at home on television.
“The combination of teams from all three levels of the sport, plus the presence of a Great Britain national team and the continuation of six-man teams will continue to make for open and aggressive racing.
“While our four domestic UCI Continental squads have worked hard to qualify for their national Tour and to have the opportunity to race against the world’s best in front of their home support.”
A trio of teams will make their OVO Energy Tour of Britain debuts in CCC Sprandi Polkowice from Poland, America’s Cylance Pro Cycling and BIKE Channel Canyon.
The latter are one of four domestic UCI Continental teams to have qualified for the Tour following their performances in British events during the course of 2017. The qualification process saw teams score points in British Cycling’s Spring Cup and Grand Prix Series, plus UCI events held in the UK, with JLT Condor heading the table ahead of ONE Pro Cycling, BIKE Channel Canyon and Madison Genesis.
A provisional rider list featuring all 120-riders for the OVO Energy Tour of Britain will be published towards the end of August.
The OVO Energy Tour of Britain gets underway in Edinburgh on Sunday, September 3, beginning from the city’s iconic Royal Mile outside St Giles’ Cathedral.
Stage Two of the race, on Monday, September 4, will be in Northumberland, racing from Kielder Water and Forest Park to Blyth.
At just over 211-kilometres, the Northumberland stage will be the longest of the 2017 Tour, and also include a finishing loop, giving spectators at the Blyth finish the chance to see the race twice. The route will also take in the likes of Rothbury, Alnwick, Bamburgh and Morpeth.
Jonny Clay, British Cycling’s Director of Cycling, said: “This stellar line-up of riders again reinforces the regard in which the OVO Energy Tour of Britain is held among the world’s best riders and teams. We are extremely proud that, yet again, some of the most recognisable faces in our sport will be racing on British roads, inspiring the next generation of cyclists.
“This year, that inspiration to participation message is taken a step further with the staging of the HSBC UK City Ride in Edinburgh on the same day that the Tour departs the city. Giving people the opportunity to ride on traffic-free streets and also watch the best in the world compete perfectly encapsulates our major event strategy, and we’re looking forward to seeing thousands of people line the streets of Edinburgh and the other locations on the Tour route.”
Live coverage of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain will be shown on ITV4 and Eurosport in the UK, with both channels also screening daily highlights of the action. 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 door step.
The full list of teams for the OVO Energy Tour of Britain is as follows:
• An Post Chain Reaction (Ireland)
• Bardiani CSF (Italy)
• BIKE Channel Canyon (Great Britain)
• BMC Racing Team (USA)
• Cannondale Drapac Pro Cycling (USA)
• CCC Sprandi Polkowice (Poland)
• Cylance Pro Cycling (USA)
• Great Britain national team (Great Britain)
• JLT Condor (Great Britain)
• Lotto Soudal (Belgium)
• Madison Genesis (Great Britain)
• Movistar Team (Spain)
• ONE Pro Cycling (Great Britain)
• Orica Scott (Australia)
• Quick-Step Floors (Belgium)
• Team Dimension Data (South Africa)
• Team Katusha Alpecin (Germany)
• Team Lotto NL – Jumbo (Netherlands)
• Team Sky (Great Britain)
• Wanty Groupe Gobert (Belgium)