Elite riders set to take on the Tour

MANY of the world&rsquo;s top teams and riders begin their assault on the great British countryside tomorrow for the start of the 2009 Tour of Britain.<br />A plethora of world, Olympic and Tour de France champions go head-to-head to compete in the biggest professional cycle race held in the UK.<br />The Tour once again takes the 96 elite riders on a 600-mile round trip around Britain, combining some exciting new stages with the more established parts of the race.<br /><br />Areas such as the Scottish Borders, the Staffordshire Moorlands and Devon feature on the eight-stage Tour for the first time, while the race finishes with the famous London stage on 18 September &ndash; an event which never fails to pull in the crowds.<br /><br />Frenchman Geoffroy Lequatre will be looking to take the yellow jersey for the second year running, racing for the Agritubel team, although he will undoubtedly be pushed all the way by the runner-up of last year, Steve Cummings, who leads a British trio of Geraint Thomas and Christopher Froome for the Barloworld team. All three will join the new Team Sky next season along with Norwegian star Edvald Boasson Hagen, who will be looking to his three stages wins of last year.<br /><br />All money raised from the Tour will be donated to the Prostate Cancer Charity and as part of the fundraising drive, organisers have created two mass participation events thisn year called &ldquo;The Tour Rides&rdquo;.<br /><br />The first one, in Stoke-on-Trent last Sunday, attracted over 1,200 riders, while the second takes place in London next Saturday (18), just prior to when the elite cyclists take to the course.<br /><br /><strong>&bull;</strong> The Tour of Britain and The Prostate Cancer Charity would like to offer 20 CityAM readers the chance to win a place in this 20km ride. To have a chance of winning, just email your name and number to jeannine.maghoo@prostate-cancer.org.uk with &lsquo;CityAM&rsquo; in the subject line before Tuesday 15 September.