TEAM Katusha Alpecin’s line-up for the OVO Energy Tour of Britain line-up will feature two former race leaders and stage winners: home favourite Alex Dowsett and German sprinter Marcel Kittel.

The Swiss-registered team have today confirmed that Dowsett and Kittel will be returning to Britain to race in the eight-day event, which starts at Pembrey Country Park, Carmarthenshire, on Sunday, September 2 and culminates in London a week later.

The first stage of the race will travel from Pembrey Country Park to Llandovery, along the A40, before passing through Sennybridge and a King of the Mountains point at Defynnog on the A4215. The stage will then carry on through Brecon, Pencelli, Crickhowell, Llangattock and Abergavenny before finishing in Newport.

“This is the first of many exciting rider announcements we’ll be making in the build-up to this year’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain,” said race director Mick Bennett.

“It’s always exciting when two of our former stage winners return to the race, especially when they’re of the calibre of Alex Dowsett and Marcel Kittel. It goes without saying that Marcel is a rider to watch in the bunch sprints, while this year’s unpredictable and innovative race route is similar to that from 2014 – an edition that Alex so nearly claimed the overall victory in.”

Dowsett won the Tour of Britain Stage 8a individual time trial in London in 2011, and came within two days of claiming the 2014 title after heroically aggressive performances across several days. The Essex rider, who previously held the prestigious UCI Hour Record, has finished all seven of his starts in the race, posting five additional top 10 stage finishes alongside his sole victory.

Kittel, 30 – a 14-time stage winner in the Tour de France – last competed in the race in 2014, when he bookended his week by winning the Liverpool curtain raiser and the final stage on Whitehall in London.

The first of those victories also led to him wearing the coveted leader’s jersey for one day.

The 2018 OVO Energy Tour of Britain features 20 teams, 13 of whom competed in this year’s Tour de France. Further rider announcements will be revealed in due course. 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.