We are going with a solid team to a race in which we've won 18 stages at the previous participations.
This year's Tour of Britain is set to start on Sunday from Glasgow and come to a conclusion in London, the capital of the United Kingdom, after eight stages and more than 1300 kilometers. As things stand at the moment, at least five days will have the sprinters in the spotlight, giving them plenty of opportunities to test themselves ahead of the World Championships in Doha. Decisive for the general classification will be stage six to Haytor (making its return to the course after three years) and the 15-km long individual time trial in Bristol, which is scheduled to take place one day later.
A top 10 finisher at the Tour de France this year and a stage winner at both Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and Volta a Catalunya, Daniel Martin will lead Etixx – Quick-Step in the British race (4-11 September), which he'll ride for the first time since 2013, when he finished 13th in the overall standings.
The 30-year-old Irishman talked of his preparation and the expectations he has for the race: "Doing the Tour de France and the Olympic Games was very tiring, physically and mentally. After the road race, I stayed in Rio to recover and follow my girlfriend, who was competing at the Olympics. It was nice, I cleaned up my mind and once I returned home I started building up for the last part of the season. Even though I don't know what to expect from this race, I am keen on honoring it with a win, especially as in the past I came close to a victory, but missed out on one. The team is strong, so let's see what we're going to do."
Joining Dan for the Tour of Britain – a race in which Etixx – Quick-Step holds the record for the most stage wins (18) – are stagiaire Adrien Costa, three-time ITT World Champion Tony Martin, Tour de Suisse stage and points classification winner Maximiliano Richeze, 2014 Tour of Britain stage victor Julien Vermote and Lukasz Wisniowski.
For Adrien Costa, this will be his first race with Etixx – Quick-Step, which he'll do after coming third in the overall standings at the prestigious Tour de l'Avenir, where he also finished on top in the individual time trial. One of the most fascinating prospects on the U23 scene, the 19-year-old has enjoyed a strong and impressive season so far, becoming the first American to win the Tour de Bretagne and completing the arduous Tour of Utah in second place, ahead of many established World Tour riders.
"After the Tour de l'Avenir I enjoyed a few days of relaxation and much needed recovery in France. L'Avenir was a big season objective and with two stage wins and a 3rd overall, it went really great for our team. It was an honor to race against the best U23 riders in the world, and at the same time, a huge experience", said Adrien Costa. "I am super excited to do the Tour of Britain with Etixx – Quick-Step; it's been a dream since I was a kid to race in the pro peloton beside all these legends of the sport. I'm looking forward to a fun, hard week of racing, and I hope to learn as much as I can and give maximum contribution to the team's efforts throughout the race."
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele