AN exciting line-up and an extra team has been announced for this year's Tour of Britain cycle race, sponsored and hosted by Somerset County Council.

An impressive 17 teams and 102 riders, including stage winners from the recent Tour de France, will compete in this year's race on Tuesday, September 11.

T-Mobile is the latest team to confirm participation in the event.

They will be bringing a strong line-up with a British flavour to the event, with exciting young riders Mark Cavendish and Roger Hammond among the ones to watch.

Five British teams will compete in this year's race, including Team Great Britain, which is made up of riders from British Cycling's Olympic Academy Programme.

Top international teams include Agritubel, Team CSC and Barloworld.

The Somerset stage is already being billed as the toughest in this year's event. Members of Minehead Cycling Club recently put the route to the test, tackling the Porlock Toll Road, Watersmeet and Lype Hill climbs.

After the experience, club member Tony Needham said: "The course for the Exmoor section was excellent, with two major and tricky descents and two major climbs.

"The short but steep hills on the return run from Simonsbath will be testing for the field and the last climb up from Wheddon Cross will possibly split the field before the last, very fast, run in to Taunton."

Cllr Justin Robinson, Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council, said: "The combination of the backbreaking King of the Mountains and Hot Spot Sprint challenges with Somerset's breathtaking landscape as a backdrop means that the county is sure to be the centre of attention in this year's event, which is not to be missed."