BRITISH cycling star Mark Cavendish will pedal into Blackpool on Monday when he leads his HTC Highroad team in the Tour of Britain.
Stage two of next week’s eight-stage tour is a 128.4km stretch which starts at Kendal and finishes in the shadows of Blackpool Tower.
Cavendish, who has won 20 stages of the Tour de France, last competed in the Tour of Britain in 2007, when he won the opening two stages of the race. The other members of his team will be Bernhard Eisel and Mark Renshaw.
The Tour of Britain starts with a Scottish stage on Sunday and ends as usual in central London the following Sunday.
HTC Highroad race director Mick Bennett said: “As a team we have worked hard over the past fortnight to ensure that Mark rides the Tour of Britain. We are very pleased that Mark has been given permission by the organisers of the Vuelta a Espana (the three-week road race from Madrid to Benidorm which concludes on Sunday) to start the Tour of Britain.
“He will be able to race in front of home crowds for potentially the final time before the 2012 London Olympics. Mark’s addition to the start list will ensure that the sprints are hotly contested.”
Sprints on the second stage include one in Kendal and a second near Kirkby Lonsdale.
The racers head to Blackpool via Longridge, Broughton, Singleton and Cleveleys, finishing with a seven-kilometre home straight along Blackpool Promenade.
HTC Highroad have won the Tour of Britain for the last two years, with Edvald Boasson Hagen taking the honours in 2009 and Michael Albasini the winner 12 months ago.
This will be the their final appearance on the Tour as the team will disband at the end of the season.