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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 August 2005, 11:04 GMT 12:04 UK
Hammond heads British challenge
Roger Hammond
Hammond will be the experienced head in a young GB line-up
Lance Armstrong's former team-mate Roger Hammond will lead British hopes at the six-day Tour of Britain, which starts in Glasgow on Tuesday.

Hammond, who rode alongside the Texan in his Discovery team this season, has been freed up by his employers to head up a Great Britain team for the race.

The 31-year-old is the veteran of the outfit and will line up with some of Britain's most promising talent.

Among them are world champions Geraint Thomas and Mark Cavendish.

Hammond sees the event as key to highlighting as well as shaping British cycling ambitions.

He said: "There's a lot of talent in British track and road cycling at the moment and they're only going to get better taking on the world's best."

The six-day Tour of Britain, which finishes through the streets of Westminster, London, on Sunday, includes a number of big name teams, among them Jan Ullrich's T-Mobile outfit and Ivan Basso's CSC team.

Any big tour is going to be good and, with it being in Britain, it makes it 10 times better
Mark Cavendish
But with the race not part of the new-for-2005 ProTour, neither Ullrich, Basso nor many of the world's leading riders are there.

World time-trial champion Michael Rogers is arguably the biggest name in the field, while there are a host of British medallists from the Athens Olympics.

They include Rob Hayles, who won bronze in the madison alongside Bradley Wiggins, and fellow medallists Chris Newton and Paul Manning.

But spectators at the event, which is about 800kms long, could be witnessing some even greater British talent in Thomas and Cavendish.

The 19-year-old Thomas is the current junior world champion but missed the seniors event after a training accident in Australia which led to him having his spleen removed.

But he said: "I'm over that now really and getting stronger all the time.

"As for the Tour of Britain, it's really good as it gives us a chance to race on home soil with the best riders around. It gives us a chance to impress."

Cavendish is the current world champion in the madison, a title he won in Los Angeles with Hayles in March.

And, like Thomas, he is equally enamoured with the prospect of riding on British soil.

Cavendish said: "Any big tour is going to be good and, with it being in Britain, it makes it 10 times better."

He also welcomed the leadership of Hammond for the British team, hailing it as the "ideal support".

The 20-year-old's goal for the race is a stage win, although he admitted overall victory was likely to be out of his reach.

The race passes through Carlisle, Blackpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham among other cities before a 45-lap finale in Westminster.

Like the Tour de France the overall leader will be awarded the yellow jersey, there will be a green jersey on offer for the highest points scorer (the most consistent stage finisher) and a polkadot jersey for the best climber.

Tour of Britain geared for start
09 Aug 05 |  Cycling

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