Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome will line up for Team Sky in the Tour of Britain next month.
In a major coup for organisers, Froome will ride his first Tour of Britain since 2009, with the six-time Grand Tour winner making a rare appearance of any kind in a British race.
Thomas was once a regular in the Tour of Britain, but his appearance last year, when he finished seventh overall, was his first since 2011.
Aside from a handful of low-level criteriums on the continent, Thomas has not raced since becoming the third Briton to win the Tour de France in July.
The Welshman was drawn to last year’s Tour of Britain by its finish in his native Cardiff, and will again be on home soil when this year’s event begins in Pembrey Country Park, Carmarthenshire, on Sunday September 2.
Thomas said: “As soon as I’d finished the Tour I knew I wanted to ride the Tour of Britain and race on home roads. It starts in Wales which will be special, and then I get to go and race across the whole of the UK. I can’t wait.
“I want to go to the race in the shape to compete and enjoy it. We’ll have to see how the next few weeks go but I’m looking forward to it and I know we will have a strong team there.”
Froome’s only previous participations in the Tour of Britain came in 2007 and 2009, and his appearance in the RideLondon Classic in 2016 was his only race to date in the UK since the London Olympics.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve raced the Tour of Britain,” said Froome, who has focused instead on La Vuelta in the past four seasons, winning the Spanish Grand Tour for the first time last year.
“The Vuelta a Espana has always been such a big goal and sadly coincided with the Tour of Britain, but not doing La Vuelta this year gives me the chance to come back to the UK and race on what looks like a great parcours.
“I’m really looking forward to riding. I always remember there being a great atmosphere at the Tour of Britain and the race has only got bigger over the years. I’m really looking forward to coming back.”
Following the start in Wales, this year’s Tour of Britain will take riders into the West Country and up to Cumbria before returning to its regular finishing circuit in central London on September 9.