Mark Cavendish has been confirmed for the 2015 Tour of Britain alongside five Etixx-QuickStep teammates. Backing Cavendish in his bid to add to 10 career wins at the 2.HC race are leadout men Mark Renshaw and Matteo Trentin, fresh from two stage wins at the Tour du Poitou-Charentes. Stagiaire and 2016 signing Fernando Gaviria offers another avenue to success on the sprint stages.
Czech riders Petr Vakoc and Zdenek Stybar complete the six rider roster for the eight stage race which gets underway Sunday with a 177.7km jaunt from Beaumaris to Wrexham.
"I'm excited to ride the Tour of Britain," Mark Cavendish said. "It's my 'home' tour and it's always something special to ride in front of your national crowd. It's already my eighth time at the race and year-by-year I can see how cycling is growing in this nation. We are at the start to try to be successful as we were last year. We have a strong team and we are ready to race. This year the course is extremely difficult. It will be also a good final preparation for the UCI World Championships in Richmond."
The team won stages at the 2014 edition of the race via Mark Renshaw on stage 2 and Michał Kwiatkowski two days later. While Cavendish failed to win a stage at last year's race, he has taken multiple stage wins on four different occasions and will be up against Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) as he aims to build on his 14 wins so far in 2015
Stybar, a stage winner at this year's Tour de France, explained he is looking forward to his British racing debut in his first race since the Czech Cycling Tour where he won a stage and finished third overall.
"This is the first time that I ride this race," Stybar said. "I'm pretty curious about it. My teammates told me that it's a tough race, without a metre of flat road, designed in great scenarios. It will be even more difficult because the teams are formed by only six riders, so it's not easy to control the race. The atmosphere will be great, I'm sure.
"I have never raced on the road in United Kingdom, but I remember the great images of the Olympics and the Grand Depart of the Tour de France last year. It will be nice to be part of this race. As for my condition, I think I'm okay and I’m looking forward to participate in the race."
Having followed up his Czech Cycling Tour victory with seventh place overall at the Tour du Poitou Charentes, in which he won the best young rider jersey, Vakoc will offer the team a won the Vakoc will be the team's general classification rider.
Etixx-Quick Step for the Tour of Britain: Mark Cavendish, Fernando Gaviria, Mark Renshaw, Zdenek Stybar, Matteo Trentin and Petr Vakoc.