British national champions Ben Swift (Team INEOS) and Alex Dowsett (Team KATUSHA ALPECIN), along with compatriot and 2016 champion Steve Cummings (Team Dimension Data), looked ahead to this year’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain in front of the media on Friday.

Speaking at the historic Glasgow City Chambers, the three British stars previewed the 16th edition of the modern Tour, which starts in the Scottish city on Saturday (7 September).

Ben Swift Tour of Britain riders

Ben Swift

Reigning British road race champion

“I’m really looking forward to it. The Tour of Britain is always a special race, especially for the British riders to come back and race in the home crowds. I think to have this jersey for the first time in my career will make the race extra special.

“Looking at the route on paper is one thing, but we know how the Tour of Britain is raced. You’ve got to be ready to race every single day. Each stage can be different depending on the weather. Luckily we know what the roads are like –  how heavy they are shocks a lot of people and we don’t really have a lot of flat out here.

The stage to Kendal looks on paper to be one of the hardest stages. Stage seven [Warwick to Burton Dassett] is going to be quite a difficult one as it’s all going to be about positioning getting into those final circuits. There’s no day where you can really relax and take it steady, you’ve got to be ready every day.”

Alex Dowsett Tour of Britain riders

Alex Dowsett

Reigning British time trial champion

“In my time at Movistar Team I really enjoyed hearing the other riders say how mad the crowds were at the Tour of Britain. They set the Tour of Britain apart from every other race in the calendar. Naturally for us it’s a special race because it’s a home race but to have your Spanish team-mates to go ‘this is really cool’ makes you quite proud.

“I would put my money on Steve [Cummings] actually for the win this year, coming off the back of the [Arctic Race of] Norway. Mathieu Van Der Poel is quite good, I hear, and Swifty, too.

“I’ve seen a map and the profile of the stage six time trial, but that’s about it but. It looks like a standard UK time trial really – well, not a dual carriageway, but a standard sporting course.”

Steve Cummings Tour of Britain riders

Steve Cummings

Former British road and time trial champion 

“I’m looking forward to coming back. I’ll just try not to lose time and look for opportunities. The stage in the Lake District looks pretty hard. We’ve seen before in the Tour of Britain that sometimes it’s not the hardest day that can make the difference: a big group can go and that can decide the GC.

“Obviously the time trial is another key day but there’s a lot of racing to be done before that. It’s just a really open race and that makes it quite aggressive and the level of the field is increasing and this year it’s really high. It always produces a worthy winner.

“I think the race has become really important now. I remember back in 2006, if you weren’t in that early break the race was kind of over as it would get 17 minutes and the GC was done. People are taking it a lot more seriously now, using it as a really good build up for the world championships. There’s a lot of prestige behind it now.”

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Click here to visit the rider list | Click here to explore the 2019 route