THREE of the world’s top five riders will power their way into Newport tomorrow when the OVO Energy Tour of Britain’s first stage reaches its climax.

Team Sky teammates Geraint Thomas, fresh from his historic Tour de France victory, and Chris Froome headline the list of starters setting off from Pembrey Country Park.

Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) will make his debut in the race after winning two stages in this year’s Tour de France and the prestigious King of the Mountains jersey.

The big three of Thomas, Froome and Alaphilippe are part of the Tour of Britain’s strongest ever field, and there is some local interest too.

Newport’s own Jon Mould (JLT Condor) goes into the event on the back of his first place in the Grand Prix des Marbriers and a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in April.

The startlist also features Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Team LottoNL-Jumbo), fourth overall in the Tour de France, Colombian Fernando Gaviria and Germany’s Max Schachmann (both Quick-Step Floors).

Gaviria has previously enjoyed success in the Tour of Britain, claiming stage wins in Blythe in 2015 and Newark-on-Trent last year.

Also among the starters are former stage victors André Greipel (Lotto Soudal), Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-SCOTT), Wout Poels (Team Sky), Mark Renshaw (Team Dimension Data), Alex Dowsett (Team KATUSHA ALPECIN), Ben Swift (Great Britain) Ian Stannard (Team Sky) and Tony Martin (Team KATUSHA ALPECIN).

Two current national road race champions, including British champion Connor Swift (Madison Genesis), are involved too.

“As soon as I’d finished the Tour I knew I wanted to ride the Tour of Britain and race on home roads,” said Thomas. “It starts in Wales which will be special, and then I get to go and race across the whole of the UK. I can’t wait.”

Five reigning national time trial champions – including Thomas – will start in Carmarthenshire tomorrow and have a chance to wear their champions’ jerseys on stage five in Cumbria.

In total, 11 teams from the UCI’s WorldTour will compete in the event, while 13 of the 20 teams took part in July’s Tour de France.

“There aren’t a lot of races outside the Tour de France with so many spectators, but the Tour of Britain is one of them,” said Brian Holm, team manager of Quick-Step Floors, the number one-ranked team in the world.

“The fans are always making a very special atmosphere for all the riders and staff members.”

Among the debutants are Yorkshire’s Tom Pidcock (Team WIGGINS), the highly-rated reigning junior world time trial champion, and BMC Racing’s Tejay van Garderen.

The OVO Energy Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event, giving fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their doorstep.

The race starts tomorrow and finishes on Sunday, September 9.