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Russell Hampton targeting more success at the Tour of Britain
RUSSELL Hampton wants to repeat his success at last year’s Tour of Britain when the 2012 version of the biggest cycling race in the country gets underway on Sunday.
The 23-year-old, from Basildon , spent four days in the King of the Mountain’s jersey last year.
And Hampton, who rides for Team Raleigh, is targeting something similar this year.
“I’m going into race looking for stage wins and to see if I can get a bit of time in one of the leader’s jerseys again,” said Hampton.
“I’ve just come back from a good training camp with the team in Girona, in Spain. That went well and I’ve been putting out some good numbers in training this week so I’m feeling good.”
Hampton will look to replicate his move from last year’s race when he got in a breakaway on the second stage and collected points to take the lead in the King of Mountains classification.
Other leader’s jerseys that are available include ones for the points and sprints classifications.
This year’s field includes British superstars Mark Cavendish, the current World Champion, and Bradley Wiggins, the Tour de France winner and Olympic time-trial champion.
And Hampton says their presence will make this year’s eight-day race even more popular.
“The race has got bigger and bigger each year and for me it will probably be the biggest crowds I see all year,” he said.
“Even when we race in Europe, which has a bit more of a culture of cycling, the crowds aren’t the same. The organisers do a great job of getting schoolchildren out on the route and it’s a great atmosphere.
“And with Team Sky putting both Wiggins and Cavendish in the race, I think it will be bigger than before and come close to the crowds that were out for the Olympic races.”
The race is eight stages long, starting in Ipswich on Sunday and finishing in Guildford the following weekend, having covered 1,350 kilometres.
“The first half of the race should be one for the sprinters,” said Hampton. “But after that there are tough stages in Wales, Dartmoor and the final one into Guldford will be a tough, aggressive stage too.”
And as an Ipswich Town fan, Hampton is particularly looking forward to the first stage.
“I’m a pretty big Ipswich supporter and it’s a bit of a shame they are not playing the day before so I could go and watch them,” he said. “But it will be nice starting there and it’s close enough to home for a lot of my family to come up and watch, so it should be good.”