Mark Cavendish, Britain’s most successful rider of all time, has been named in Team Dimension Data’s six-man line-up for the OVO Energy Tour of Britain.
And the ten-time Tour of Britain stage winner will be joined on the team by the 2016 champion, Steve Cummings.
The South African team’s roster will also feature Cavendish’s long-standing team-mate Mark Renshaw, as well as Julien Vermote.
The prestigious event will be returning to Warwickshire on Friday, September 13, when Stage 7 will start at Warwick Racecourse.
Cavendish’s ten Tour victories is a record, and includes three in the 2012 and 2013 editions of the race. The Manxman’s return to the Tour of Britain, which starts in Glasgow on Saturday (7 September) comes after he missed the 2018 race through illness. It will be Cavendish’s 10th participation in his home Tour.
Cummings, 38, became only the second – and most recent – home winner of the modern race when he won the 2016 edition.
Renshaw, who will retire as a professional at the end of 2019 following a 17-year career, has been one of Cavendish’s key aides for nearly a decade.
The 36-year-old won stages in the 2011 and 2014 race; after the second of those, which in Llandudno, Wales, he led the Tour overall for one day.
And Belgian rider Vermote finished ninth overall in 2016 after pipping current team-mate Cummings to victory at the end of a gruelling stage in Cumbria. Two years earlier he soloed to a memorable win along Brighton’s famous Madeira Drive after riding away from his rivals on the iconic Ditchling Beacon climb.
Additional experience comes in the form of Austrian Bernie Eisel, 38, who, like Renshaw, is a fan favourite in Britain after years of being a team-mate of Cavendish.
Former Swiss road race champion Danilo Wyss, 34, completes the line-up.
The event will travel through all five districts and boroughs of Warwickshire for the first time, hosted by Warwickshire County Council with support from Warwick District Council, Stratford-on-Avon District Council, Rugby Borough Council and North Warwickshire Borough Council and will once again end in Burton Dassett Country Park.
The 186.5km route includes Warwick, Kenilworth, the University of Warwick, Meriden, Fillongley, Atherstone, Mancetter, Hartshill, Galley Common, Corley, Bedworth, Bulkington, Brinklow, Long Lawford, Bilton, Dunchurch, Kites Hardwick, Princethorpe, Ashorne, Wellesbourne, Ettington, Edgehill, Warmington, Temple Herdewyke, and three ascents of Burton Dassett on a 12km route.
The peloton will head up towards Meriden via Kenilworth and Berkswell, before travelling across North Warwickshire to Bedworth and Bulkington.
Riders will then head south towards Brinklow and the outskirts of Rugby, and back up to Princethorpe before racing along Fosse Way, down to Wellesbourne, and through Ettington and Edgehill.
Three Eisberg Sprints await competitors during the stage, the first at Berkswell, the second at Brinklow, and the third at Pillerton Priors.
Competitors will then face three Skoda King of the Mountain challenges in a gruelling final stretch including two full loops of Burton Dassett County Park before crossing the tour’s first-ever hill top finish line.
ITV4 will once again screen live free-to-air coverage flag-to-flag of each stage in the UK, along with a nightly highlights programme of the best of the action.
More details on the route can be found at www.tourofbritain.co.uk/stages/stage-seven