British road race champion Rob Hayles will be joined by Halfords-Bikehut teammate Tom Southam to represent Great Britain for the 2008 Tour of Britain, which begins in London on September 7.
Rounding out the Great Britain team are Ben Swift, Ian Stannard, Jonathan McEvoy and Andy Tennant, with former road professional Max Sciandri as team manager.
Hayles told British Cycling he was very pleased to have been selected and happy to go for either the overall or stage victories. Asked to put his neck on the line and say which stages he feels may suit him, he explained that although there are “some quite lumpy stages in the race, the first (London) and last (Liverpool) stages” may well suit him. The three-time Olympic medalist is confident no one will touch him in the sprints.
To prepare for the event, he and Southam rode the Surrey League Five day last week. Southam won the race, which was the final event in both riders programme until the Tour starts. In the meantime, both riders will be tapering their training and getting into the best possible shape for the first iconic stage in London along the river Thames.
Swift won the King of the Mountains jersey for the 2007 race, and rode well in the Beijing Olympic road race, as well as finishing fourth in the Under 23 European road race championship.
Stannard, based in Belgium, along with Tennant and McEvoy, will fly in from the European Track Championships in Poland a day before the race.
Riders from Team Great Britain have taken stage victories in each of the last three editions of the race. In last year’s race, Paul Manning, who won gold in Beijing last week, won the final stage of the race and in 2005 and 2006, Roger Hammond won stages.