Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome set to ride Nottinghamshire stage of the Tour of Britain
Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas and Giro d’Italia winner Chris Froome will ride together in the OVO Energy Tour of Britain for the first time since 2009, Team Sky have announced today.
The duo are set to ride the Nottinghamshire route on Saturday 8 September for the penultimate - and longest - stage of the race.
The British pair, who placed first and third in July’s Tour de France, will both be on the start line of Britain’s biggest annual sporting event in Pembrey Country Park, Carmarthenshire, on Sunday 2 September.
They will be joined by Dutchman Wout Poels, himself a three-time stage winner in the race, including the hill-top finishes at Hartside and Haytor. The rest of the Team Sky line-up will be announced in due course.
Welshman Thomas 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.
He 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.
Since then he has established himself as the leading Grand Tour rider of his generation, having won four Tours de France, the 2017 Vuelta a Espana and the 2018 Giro d’Italia.
Poels needs little introduction to British cycling fans, having ridden alongside Froome in five of his seven Grand Tour victories, as well as Thomas at this year’s Tour de France. He won his first Tour of Britain stage aged just 23, when he soloed to victory in Teignmouth on Stage Four in 2010.
Councillor Kay Cutts, Nottinghamshire County Council leader, said
“It’s fantastic news that such big names will be taking part in the race. I’m sure they’ll get a tremendous reception when they come to Nottinghamshire on Saturday 8 September.”
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.
"I’m also looking forward to watching Wout's return to the race, having seen his three previous OVO Energy Tour of Britain stage victories up close. He’ll be one to watch during this year’s hill-top finish at Whinlatter on Stage Six, that’s for sure!”
Already confirmed for the 2018 OVO Energy Tour of Britain are Team KATUSHA ALPECIN’s Marcel Kittel and Alex Dowsett – both of whom, like Greipel, 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.
Photos credited to ASO/Alex Broadway.