Team Sky has announced its team for the Tour of Britain which starts in Peebles, Scotland on September 11.
Geraint Thomas and Ben Swift, both members of Team Sky’s successful 2011 Tour de France squad, will be joined by fellow British riders Peter Kennaugh and Alex Dowsett. The experienced Australian duo Michael Rogers and Mathew Hayman will round out the six-man team.
Team Principal Dave Brailsford said: "This is a strong and exciting team for the Tour of Britain. After a hugely successful season on the roads of Europe and beyond, it is really exciting to be racing in front of our home fans and we will be looking to repay the great support they have given the team all year.
"The squad features a great mix of young and experienced riders that will be well equipped to deal with the race’s challenges. Team Sky was created to give British talent a chance at the elite end of racing and in Geraint, Ben, Alex and Peter we have four of this country’s most exciting professionals. They have shown all season with their results that they can ride and compete with the world’s best cyclists.
"Alongside them will be the hugely experienced Michael Rogers and Mathew Hayman – riders who have performed at Grand Tour level on numerous occasions. We have a really exciting team and can’t wait for 11 September."
That was echoed by Geraint Thomas who heads into the race having won his first overall stage race this season at Bayern-Rundfahrt as well as once again holding the young rider's white jersey for several days at the Tour de France.
He said: "The Tour of Britain is a great race and this will be my sixth appearance. It is always exciting to ride in front of our home fans. The support we have had on the road all year has been amazing and has played a big part in the success we have achieved as a team.
"We can’t wait to put on a good show for them. It’s going to be a great week of racing."
Sprinter Ben Swift has won stages this year at the Tour Down Under, the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, the Tour of California and the Tour de Romandie and he's looking to add to that tally in the race which provided his first success.
He said: "I am looking forward to racing my home Tour again particularly as it is where I secured my first professional win in 2009.
"There will be some tough opposition this year with a number of star riders appearing, but we have a really exciting team with a real depth to it. The team is riding well and full of confidence and we can’t wait to get going."
The introduction of a time trial into this year's route plays right into the hands of Alex Dowsett. An already impressive neo-pro season hit new heights when he claimed his first victory on the final stage of the Tour du Poitou-Charentes in France last week and the 22-year-old will look to continue his fine run of form in his home race.
A member of last year's Tour of Britain squad, Mathew Hayman returns to the UK once again to deliver his own unique brand of punishment to the peloton. A powerful and experienced rider, the Australian will marshal the team out on the road and will be called into action to close down breakaways and add firepower to lead-outs.
The 22-year-old Manxman enjoyed a great first season as a professional with Team Sky last year and has gone from strength-to-strength in 2011. Kennaugh earned himself a place on the podium at the Route du Sud and also claimed a top-five finish in the Tour of Poland earlier this month. His all-round ability will be a huge asset to the team.
Michael is one of the most successful and well-respected riders in the peloton. With three World Championship titles to his name, the 31-year-old will be looking to impress in the time trial, whilst also helping lead the team on the road.
The young sprinter returns to the Tour of Britain for the first time since his stage-winning appearance in 2009. Then riding for Katusha, Swift won stage seven into Yeovil, his first victory as a professional. The 23-year-old has seen his career take off in the last two years, racking up seven wins in Team Sky colours and will no doubt be hungry for more on home roads.
Having ridden in the last five editions of the race, Geraint Thomas' career has grown exponentially and seen him develop into one of the most accomplished all-rounders in the peloton. With a stage race victory already under his belt this season at Bayern-Rundfahrt, the 2010 British National Champion will hope to fight for top honours at his home race.