Three of Britain’s biggest teams have unveiled their line-ups for the 2012 Tour of Britain.
Endura Racing, Team IG-Sigma Sport, and Rapha Condor Sharp, have each declared their personnel for the 1,350 mile race, which starts in Ipswich on Sunday (September 9).
Scottish squad Endura Racing have consistently punched above their weight in races abroad, and are now the highest ranked Continental team in the UCI Europe Tour (those above them are registered as Pro Continental outfits).On home roads, they won the team classification for this year’s Halfords Tour Series, and five of six rounds of the Premier Calendar.
Endura will be led at the Tour of Britain by Jon Tiernan-Locke, ranked third in the UCI Europe Tour, and winner of the Tour Méditerranéen, Tour du Haut Var and Tour Alsace. Tiernan-Locke was the early leader of the UCI Europe Tour and his victory in July’s Tour Alsace marks a timely return to form.
Sprinter, Russell Downing has enjoyed a similarly successful season since joining Endura from Team Sky in January, winning the Eddie Soens Memorial Classic, the Grand Prix de la Ville de Lillers, the Lincoln Grand Prix, the Beaumont Trophy and the fifth stage of the Glava Tour of Norway.
The pairing will be backed Ian Bibby, recent winner of the second stage of the La Mi-Août en Bretagne, Zak Dempster, winner of two rounds of the Halfords Tour Series, Paul Voß and Iker Camaño.
Directeur sportif Alex Sans Vega said the team would seek stage wins and a podium finish. General manager, Brian Smith, has stated the team’s ambition to win the race.
Sans Vega added: “We have had a great season so far and we have selected a strong, balanced team. We have riders for sprints (Downing and Dempster), breakaways (Voß and Bibby) and riders for the GC (Camaño and Tiernan-Locke).
“This means we will be covering all the areas and everyone will support each other to get the best result every day.”
Team IG-Sigma Sport will field their strongest line-up for the race, led by road captain Simon Richardson winner of the 2009 Rás.
He said: “Our team is well balanced, with guys for GC and breakaways, and also a contender for the bunch sprints so we will have something to play for every day.”
Richardson will be backed by Dan Craven, Daniel Lloyd, a veteran of the Giro d’italia and Tour de France, who raced last year for Garmin-Cervelo, Peter Hawkins, Tom Last, Wouter Sybrandy and Dan Craven, who rode for Namibia in the Olympic road race.
The team will also receive the input of twice national road race champion Roger Hammond, who last year rode with Lloyd for Garmin in the UCI WorldTour, and next year will manage the new Madison-Genesis team.
Rapha Condor Sharp, the dominant force in domestic racing last season, will continue their policy of blooding new talent.
Four of the six-strong team will make their Tour of Britain debuts, with former national road race champion Kristian House, winner of the King of the Mountains prize in 2009, and two rounds of this year’s Tour Series, and Richard Handley the only riders from RCS with experience in the race.
General manager John Herety said the team would pursue a business as usual footing, racing aggressively to put riders in breaks.
“I am sure that in light of the success British riders have had this year it will be a special event, and I know that the guys I have chosen are capable of rising to such an occasion,” he said.
Tour of Britain line-ups
Ian Bibby (UK)
Iker Camaño (SPA)
Jon Tiernan-Locke (UK)
Paul Voß (GER)
Russell Downing (UK)
Zak Dempster (AUS)
Team IG-Sigma Sport
Simon Richardson (GBR)
Wouter Sybrandy (NED)
Dan Craven (NAM)
Peter Hawkins (IRE)
Tom Last (GBR)
Daniel Lloyd (GBR)
Rapha Condor Sharp
Mike Cuming (GBR)
Ben Grenda (AUS)
Richard Handley (GBR)
Kristian House (GBR)
Christopher Jennings (AUS)
Richard Lang (AUS)