Tour of Britain 2013: Team Sky rider Ian Stannard predicts exciting week of racing
Last Updated: 15/09/13 5:16pm
Ian Stannard is back at the Tour of Britain after a three-year absence
Englishman Ian Stannard has predicted the Tour of Britain will serve up a thrilling and unpredictable eight days of racing next week.
The Team Sky rider is making his first appearance at his home race since 2009 and, after a long season competing on foreign roads, he is excited to be back on British soil.
The tour starts on Sunday in Peebles, Scotland, and takes in stages in the Lake District, Snowdonia and Dartmoor before a marquee finish in central London on Sunday, September 22.
The tenth edition of the event will see its biggest ever field take part, with 114 riders from 19 teams battling it out for the winner's gold jersey.
Unlike top-tier races such as the Tour de France, where line-ups comprise of nine riders, there are only six men per squad at the Tour of Britain, and Stannard believes that weakening of bigger teams throws the form book out of the window.
Back on home soil
He told teamsky.com: "It totally changes the race. You have to be on your toes at all times and ready for anything. Having six guys, it just makes for good racing."
Stannard has missed out on the Tour of Britain for the past three seasons, having instead been selected each year to ride the Vuelta a Espana, the season's third Grand Tour.
However, with his priority for this summer being the Tour de France, he was not pencilled in for the Vuelta and, as a result, was free to ride his home race.
He is one of three Englishmen in Team Sky's line-up - along with leader Bradley Wiggins and Josh Edmondson - and is looking forward to experiencing Britain's current cycling boom first hand.
"The race has grown and developed over the years. There are some good, long stages this year."
"I haven't ridden this race for the last three years so I'm looking forward to getting back out there this time around," Stannard added. "There's a real enthusiasm for cycling at the moment, especially following Brad and Froomey's Tour wins and the Olympics, so I'm really looking forward to competing again on British roads.
"We race all over the world but it is always nice to compete in front of your home fans. With such a high-level race in the UK, naturally I want to be there."
The Tour of Britain is growing in stature every year and has attracted a world-class field for its 2013 edition, with Wiggins being joined by Mark Cavendish, Tour de France runner-up Nairo Quintana and Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner Dan Martin all taking to the start line.
And as well as riding alongside the sport's elite, Stannard is also keen to get stuck into a challenging parcours as he builds towards the world championships in Tuscany later this month.
"Last time I raced it was with ISD in 2009," he added. "The race has grown and developed over the years. There are some good, long stages this year. With the exception of the time trial, the first half of the race is made up of stages which are all around 200km.
"That is a proper solid distance and it will be good preparation leading up to the world championships."