Chris Boardman says the OVO Energy Tour of Britain has given the country’s young riders perfect preparation ahead of this summer’s Road World Championships on home soil.
National road race champion Connor Swift is among those likely to represent Great Britain Cycling Team at both events, with the global gathering set for Yorkshire from 22-29 September.
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,” said the Olympic champion.
“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.”
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.
OVO Energy is the UK’s leading energy provider and the Title Partner of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain.
This summer, OVO Energy has been on a mission to inspire more people to get our on their bikes, by challenging the barriers to cycling participation; namely road safety.
A national series of Night Ride events paved the way for more people to feel confident on the roads, and the OVO Energy Innovators programme has been harnessing technology and innovation to encourage increased numbers of cyclists.
In the process, OVO Energy is hoping to inspire people to adopt low carbon habits, so that collectively, a zero carbon future can be a reality.
With the race reaching 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,” he said.
“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.”
Visit www.ovoenergy.com for more information