Former Welwyn Wheeler Oli Stockwell handed Tour of Britain starting spot

Oli Stockwell will swap the sand of cyclo-cross for the roads of Tour of Britain after receiving a late call-up.

Oli Stockwell will swap the sand of cyclo-cross for the roads of Tour of Britain after receiving a late call-up. - Credit: ALEX WHITEHEAD/SWPIX.COM

A former Welwyn Wheelers star is set to mix it with word champions and Tour de France legends after receiving a late call-up for the Tour of Britain.

Oli Stockwell will ride in the six-man Great Britain squad for the eight-day cycling extravaganza, rubbing shoulders with the likes of world champion Julian Alaphilippe, Tokyo 2020 Olympic medallists Wout van Aert and Rohan Dennis, and the joint-record holder of the most stage wins in the world-famous Tour, Mark Cavendish.

The London Colney resident, a former Verulam School pupil, wasn't originally in the GB line-up but got the nod after a positive COVID-19 test for a team-mate.

It will be Stockwell's first time up against such a star-studded professional field but he goes into it having just completed the Tour de l'Avenir, often described as the Tour de France for semi-professionals and amateurs.

Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish greet each other before stage one of the 2016 Tour of Britain.

Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish greet each other before stage one of the 2016 Tour of Britain. - Credit: CRAIG WATSON/PA

Cavendish, who rides for the same Deceuninck-Quickstep team as Alaphilippe, equalled the 34 wins of the great Eddy Merckx at July's Tour de France, coming first in four stages of the 2021 event.

The Manxman is also the holder of the most stage wins at the Tour of Britain.

He said: “It is always an honour to race on home roads. It is a race where I have always enjoyed success and I am really looking forward to racing with what I know will be a strong team.

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"It has already been a special year for me and riding the Tour of Britain will be a great way to see so many of the people who have supported me throughout.”

The race starts on Sunday in Penzance and finishes eight days later in Aberdeen having completed 1,310.9km (814.5 miles).

The peloton will finish stage six of the 2021 Tour of Britain under the gaze of the Angel of the North in Gateshead.

The peloton will finish stage six of the 2021 Tour of Britain under the gaze of the Angel of the North after travelling from Carlisle to Gateshead. - Credit: OWEN HUMPHREYS/PA


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