Wanty-Groupe Gobert’s line-up for the 2018 OVO Energy Tour of Britain will feature two former SKODA King of the Mountains winners in the race: Merseysider Mark McNally and Belgian Xandro Meurisse.

McNally returns to the race – which will be his 10th consecutive start in the UK’s largest annual sporting event – 12 months after winning the Eisberg Sprints Jersey by a single point. The 29-year-old rider previously claimed the SKODA King of the Mountains crown in 2014.

Meanwhile Meurisse, who finished sixth in the European Road Race Championships in Glasgow on Sunday 12 August, will look to replicate his performance in the 2016 Tour. He led the SKODA King of the Mountains competition from Stage Two in Cumbria – where the race heads for two stages in 2018 – and kept it through until that year’s London finale.

The Belgian team’s line-up has plenty of strength in depth, and also features Italian sprinter Andrea Pasqualon, who recorded seven top-10 stage finishes in this year’s Tour de France. Kiwi Dion Smith led that race’s King of the Mountains classification for three stages and is also set to compete in Britain.

Former Norwegian under-23 road race champion Odd Christian Eiking and Italian all-rounder Simone Antonini complete the team’s provisional line-up.

The 2018 OVO Energy Tour of Britain will feature the strongest ever line-up in race history, with reigning Tour de France and Giro d’Italia champions Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome competing for Team Sky. Lotto Soudal’s André Greipel – a five-time stage winner in the race – will also return to the eight-day event.

Also confirmed are Team KATUSHA ALPECIN’s Marcel Kittel and Alex Dowsett – both of whom, like Greipel, are former stage winners and race leaders in the Tour. The race’s provisional startlist will be published on Friday 24 August.

For the second year running, each stage of the race will be shown live and in full on ITV4. Presenter Matt Barbet will be joined former pro rider Yanto Barker and Rebecca Charlton, with Marty MacDonald and Rob Hayles providing the commentary. Eurosport will also air daily live coverage.

The OVO Energy Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event, giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their doorstep, taking place between Sunday 2 and Sunday 9 September 2018.