Two weeks before the start of the Tour of Britain, Mr.Bookmaker-Sportstech as well as Team Barloworld-Valsir have announced their respective line-ups for the stage race. The Belgian squad, which won the overall team classification last year, will include former British Champion, Jeremy Hunt, and last year's King of the Mountains winner Ben Day in their six man roster.
Day, who has just returned from a training camp in Spain, is enthusiastic about his team’s chances in this year’s race and especially his teammate's chances for the yellow jersey. "Jezza is in the best form I have ever seen him in," he said. "I spoke to him last night and he is really up for the Tour, he has put a lot of preparation in and both us along with the rest of the team are looking forward to the start in Glasgow."
Accompanying Day and Hunt to Britain later this month will be Davy Commeyne, Christoph Roodhooft, Tom Vannoppen and Erwin Thijs.
Team Barloworld-Valsir's manager John Robertson, meanwhile, is also optimistic about his riders. "We are coming to the Tour with great expectations, especially after winning the last stage in 2004," he said. "The team includes last year’s stage winner Enrico Degano, who wants to go one better this year, as well as British rider Tom Southam who intends on doing well on his home soil, and David George who is a time trial specialist. I have a good feeling about the Tour."
Tom Southam, who has recovered from a terrible year of injuries, will is one of the six riders to line up at the start in Glasgow on August 30. "I really believe that the whole team has a great chance of winning this year's Tour of Britain," the Briton said. "The motivation within the team is brilliant, we are fortunate to have a core of riders who can all win the race. This is an important race in our calendar and for me - personally I would love to give the British fans a reason to cheer."
Southam's teammates on the stage race will be: Luca Celli, who recently notched up overall victory in the Tour de la Region Wallonne, as well as Ryan Cox, South African National Champion and Tour of Malaysia overall winner this year, Australian Sean Sullivan, and South African David George. "David is a very good rider and has been going very well this year, but so has Sean," Southam commented. "He is such a strong individual both physically and mentally he will certainly be in the hunt."
The Barloworld-Valsir Team for the 2005 Tour of Britain in short: Tom Southam, Luca Celli, Ryan Cox, Enrico Degano, David George and Sean Sullivan.