Having finished the 2005 Tour of Britain with the highest placed British rider, DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed return to the UK with the clear intent of showing that the squad is ready to reveal just how far they have come in a year and how much further they intend to go. Led by former National Champion Russell Downing, the team blends the talents of its British and Australian riders to target stage wins throughout the six day race.
"This is going to be a very tough race" said Gilbert de Weerdt, Performance Director of Team DFL. "The quality of the field is superb and with riders like Andreas Klöden, Michael Rogers and the World Champion Tom Boonen riding, nothing is going to be easy for anyone. But we have already proved we can compete with the best, and the riders are super motivated."
Team boss Nick Collins has every faith in the riders achieving their goals on home shores: "Our job is to get out there and mix it up with the big guns each and every day. We don't want a day to go by without DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed jerseys to be seen in the breaks, at the front of the climbs and in the sprints. It's our home race and to be out there in front of the cameras and crowds is very important to us."
Collins and the team are committed to improving the depth and quality of the squad in 2007 and this week announced that legendary Belgian sprinter Eric Vanderaeren will join the team as director sportif at the Tour of Britain in advance of his expected start in the role of January 2007 - an additional boost to the team.
Former National Champion Russell Downing will be the man to watch on stage three when the race finishes in his home city of Sheffield. Having just won the prestigious Overijse race in Belgium, Downing said, "I know those roads like the back of my hand and the run in to Sheffield is probably the hardest in the Tour. After my win this week in the Overijse race I know I have the legs and with strong men like Cam, Kane and Dean beside me it would be great to win at home, but you can never tell with this race, we have to react when the race goes and take all the opportunities we can."
The complete DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed team roster at the Tour of Britain will be: Alex Coutts, Dean Downing, Russell Downing, Cameron Jennings, Kane Oakley, Tom Barras and Gilbert de Weerdt.