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Chris Boardman: Tour gives Brits advantage for Road World Championships

Chris Boardman: Tour gives Brits advantage for Road World Championships
By Sportsbeat

17/09/2019 at 15:06Updated 17/09/2019 at 15:46

Chris Boardman says the OVO Energy Tour of Britain has given the country's young riders an extra advantage ahead of the Road World Championships.

Boardman feels the UCI Europe Tour race, with a field once again studded by World Tour teams, has no respect for reputations and is thus a brilliant breeding ground for the next generation.

"Towards the end of the year in a long season, you can't simulate the work required to be in good form other than by racing and the Tour of Britain is the main event," Boardman said.

"Riders are always looked after behind the scenes at the Tour of Britain which is important, but they have an opportunity to win a quite prestigious race and to prepare for the World Championships.

"It's an important part of the calendar.

"For a lot of teams, this is their big opportunity and their whole year has been based around this. The top professionals in the country have a really hard time.

"The rulebook goes out the window and the best riders in the world have a really tough time at the Tour of Britain.

"It is the opportunity for next tier riders to show themselves, punish riders and catch they eye of a team manager and potentially get a contract out of it. It's important for lots of different reasons."

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One man who won't be featuring at the World Championships is Mark Cavendish – a 30-time Tour de France stage winner, behind only Eddy Merckx in those stakes.

But the Manx missile has featured in the OVO Energy Tour of Britain this time and traversed the country alongside European track champion Matteo Trentin and nine-time road world champion Cameron Meyer.

Boardman feels seeing the sport's biggest names strut their stuff on British roads so close to the World Championships has marked this OVO Energy Tour of Britain out as a great success.

With the race having reached communities from Gateshead to Glasgow and the Wirral to Warwick, Boardman feels it's a great opportunity to get Brits back on their bikes.

"You've got to have names and Mark Cavendish is still that," Boardman added.

"I think it's reasonable to say he's at least in the autumn of his career, right at the back end of a very, very long one as well.

"Team Ineos is a draw because of the scale of Tour de France winners and they've supported it every year when they haven't had to.

"I think it's essential really to give the sporting enthusiasts a real reason to follow it and it gives the event credibility.

"The Tour of Britain is an opportunity to create something where people can just have a go and to give councils a reason to close roads.

"People can get their bike out of the garage and just have a go and do something with their peers."

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