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HTC-Columbia name strong line up for Tour of Britain

HTC-Columbia has included sprinters André Greipel and Mark Renshaw in a strong provisional line-up for next month’s Tour of Britain.

Mark Cavendish has opted to ride the Vuelta a España as he prepares for the world championships but many of the team’s other big names will be racing on British roads between September 11-18.

Former world time trial champions Michael Rogers and Bert Grabsch are also in the team, as is current Italian time trial champion Marco Pinotti and German time trial champion Tony Martin. Greipel has won 16 races this year, including stages in both the Giro d'Italia and the recent Tour of Poland and is currently riding the Eneco Tour. Renshaw is known as Mark Cavendish's lead out man, but the Australian is also a fine sprinter in his own right, as he showed with his stage win at the Tour of Denmark in early August.

Rogers won the Amgen Tour of California in May and also finished on the podium at the Tour de Romandie and Criterium International. Grabsch and Pinotti will make their Tour of Britain debuts, while Martin returns after helping Boasson Hagen win the 2009 race. The team will be directed by Brian Holm, with Michael Albasini, Marcel Sieberg and talented Australian Leigh Howard named as reserves.

Skil-Shimano and Topsport Vlaanderen teams

The Tour of Britain organisers also announced the provisional line-up of the Skil-Shimano and Topsport Vlaanderen on Thursday.

Skil-Shimano returns to the Tour of Britain for the first time since 2007, with Kenny Van Hummel and Robert Wagner in their line-up. Jin Long, Bert De Backer and Dutch duo Roy Curvers and Koen De Kort complete the provisional line-up, with Australian sprinter Mitchell Docker, Steveb Houanard and Tom Veelers named as reserves.

The Belgian Topsport Vlaanderen line-up includes Tour of Denmark stage winner Michael Van Staeyen, Tour of Qatar stage winner and second overall Gert Steurs, plus Pieter Jacobs, Stijn Joseph and Pieter Vanspeybrouck. Also included in the preliminary line-up is Kristof Vandewalle, who finished fourth behind winner and fellow Tour of Britain rider Dan Martin of Garmin-Transitions at the prestigious Tre Valli Varesine race in Italy.

Twelve teams have now announced their provisional rider line-ups for The Tour of Britain: AN Post Sean Kelly Cycling Team, Endura Racing, Garmin-Transitions Pro Cycling Team, Motorpoint - Marshalls Pasta, Rapha-Condor-Sharp, Sigma Sport-Specialized, Skil-Shimano, Sky Professional Cycling Team, HTC-Columbia, Team Raleigh, Saxo Bank and Topsport Vlaanderen.

A total 17 teams of six riders will ride this year’s race which begins with a road race stage from Rochdale to Blackpool on September 11.

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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.