Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas to race in Tour of Britain for Team Sky

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Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome will line up for Team Sky in the Tour of Britain next month.

In a major coup for organisers, Froome will ride his first Tour of Britain since 2009, with the six-time Grand Tour winner making a rare appearance of any kind in a British race.

Thomas was once a regular in the Tour of Britain, but his appearance last year, when he finished seventh overall, was his first since 2011.

Aside from a handful of low-level criteriums on the continent, Thomas has not raced since becoming the third Briton to win the Tour de France in July.

The Welshman was drawn to last year’s Tour of Britain by its finish in his native Cardiff, and will again be on home soil when this year’s event begins in Pembrey Country Park, Carmarthenshire, on Sunday September 2.

Thomas said: “As soon as I’d finished the Tour I knew I wanted to ride the Tour of Britain and race on home roads. It starts in Wales which will be special, and then I get to go and race across the whole of the UK. I can’t wait.

“I want to go to the race in the shape to compete and enjoy it. We’ll have to see how the next few weeks go but I’m looking forward to it and I know we will have a strong team there.”

Froome’s only previous participations in the Tour of Britain came in 2007 and 2009, and his appearance in the RideLondon Classic in 2016 was his only race to date in the UK since the London Olympics.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve raced the Tour of Britain,” said Froome, who has focused instead on La Vuelta in the past four seasons, winning the Spanish Grand Tour for the first time last year.

“The Vuelta a Espana has always been such a big goal and sadly coincided with the Tour of Britain, but not doing La Vuelta this year gives me the chance to come back to the UK and race on what looks like a great parcours.

“I’m really looking forward to riding. I always remember there being a great atmosphere at the Tour of Britain and the race has only got bigger over the years. I’m really looking forward to coming back.”

Following the start in Wales, this year’s Tour of Britain will take riders into the West Country and up to Cumbria before returning to its regular finishing circuit in central London on September 9.

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Seeing double at Vuelta a Espana as Mitchelton-Scott twins Adam and Simon Yates race together

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Adam Yates is set to ride alongside brother Simon at the Vuelta a Espana.

Adam Yates will race alongside twin brother Simon at the Vuelta a Espana, Australian team Mitchelton-Scott have announced.

Simon had long planned to take part in the final Grand Tour of the season following his starring role at the Giro d’Italia in May, but a change to Adam’s race programme will see him head to Spain as well after he fell short of his targets at the Tour de France.

The team plan is for Adam to ride in support of Simon, who will be the designated leader at the race which starts in Malaga on August 25. It is rare for the 26-year-old twins to compete in the same race, though they both started their seasons at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.

“The Vuelta a Espana wasn’t originally on my programme but together with the management we came to the decision that doing the Vuelta after the Tour would be another good chance to get some experience in riding multiple Grand Tours in one year,” Adam said.

“It’s pretty difficult to replicate the fatigue of a Grand Tour in training so the opportunity of riding the Vuelta without the stress of riding GC will be a good step towards gaining more experience not just in racing over three weeks but also in following all the routines and day-to-day stuff that goes on in a Grand Tour.”

Adam finished fourth on the 2016 Tour, winning the young riders’ classification, but cracked during the Alpine stages in this year’s race – something he put down to dehydration – and ultimately finished over an hour behind winner Geraint Thomas in 29th place.

Simon Yates spent 13 days in the Maglia Rosa during the Giro d'Italia this year.

Simon Yates spent 13 days in the Maglia Rosa during the Giro d’Italia this year.

Simon spent 13 days in the leader’s pink jersey at the Giro in May, but faded badly on Stage 19 as Chris Froome launched an audacious attack which propelled him to overall victory.

He will again target the General Classification but both brothers, who recently signed new two-year deals with the team, are also looking towards September’s World Championships in Innsbruck.

Simon said: “My preparation has been very different to the Giro d’Italia because like a few guys that will line up in Spain, I have one eye on the World Championships later this year so it will be interesting to see how my body responses but as always I’ll give it my all to achieve a great result.”

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Yousif Mirza and Diego Ulissi return to action for UAE Team Emirates at BinckBank Tour

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UAE Team Emirates local hero Yousif Mirza returns to racing in good form after a long spell of summer training camps around Europe.

The Emirati national champion will be riding in support of Diego Ulissi as the team takes on the BinckBank Tour from August 13-19.

Italian Ulissi will go into the stage race as a team leader who is full of confidence, knowing he is the second highest ranked rider in the peloton for the annual tour through the Netherlands and Belgium.

As well as Mirza, Ulissi will be joined by fellow Italian riders Filippo Ganna and Manuele Mori, Briton Ben Swift, Jan Polanc from Slovenia and young Belarussian star Alexandr Riabushenko.

The team will be guided by an Italian duo of sports directors, Daniele Righi and Marco Marzano.

Commenting ahead of the race, Righi said: “The riders with the skills that can most likely make it to the top part of the classification are Ulissi, who proved to be in good shape last weekend in the Clasica de San Sebastian, and Riabushenko, a young rider with excellent potential for this type of race.

Diego Ulissi.

Diego Ulissi.

“The faster stages will present Swift with significant chances to try to make it back into the more prestigious spots in the stage classification and, if there should be any breakaways, Polanc will be ready to show off his strength.

“The time trial will take place on a route that isn’t ideal for Ganna, however he will provide valuable backup for his team mates during the tour, along with Mori and Mirza – who is coming off a period of training with his national team.

“He spent several days riding on the track, focusing on work that should help him find the right pedal stroke to lead out Swift in the approach to the sprints; he will also be giving his usual support to the entire team during each individual stage.”

Now in its 13th edition, the BinckBank Tour – formerly known as the Eneco Tour – is famed for its undulating terrain, short steep hills and cobbled sections, giving it the feel of a Spring Classic in the summer months.

Traditionally, the route has featured a combination of climbs from the Amstel Gold Race, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Tour of Flanders, making it an ideal tour for classics riders and hilly specialists.

This year’s seven stages feature four flat routes ranging from 165.5km to 209.2kms in distance, a 12.7km individual time trial and two hilly courses of 182.2km and 209.5km, which traverse through the Netherlands and Belgium respectively.

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