THE eyes of a TV global audience of millions will tune in to see Dartmoor at its best when the Tour of Britain returns to Devon.

In what will be a worldwide showcase for the county on September 9, viewers will be able to watch three hours of live coverage of the Devon stage of the race. This year both ITV4 and the BIKE Channel UK will show the race live, while ITV4 will also air a one-hour highlights programme each day.

ITV4’s coverage will be fronted by Matt Barbet and former world track champion Rob Hayles, with four-time world champion Hugh Porter MBE and double British champion Brian Smith commentating for the live coverage and highlights.

Devon has so far featured in the Tour of Britain more times than any other venue outside of London.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for cycling, said: ‘The Tour is a great occasion for all of the communities it passes through, and people in Devon always embrace this colourful spectacle. We have seen the popularity of cycling in Devon grow ever since the county first featured in the race and we’re delighted that this year will see Devon playing a part.

‘It’s a prestigious event and Devon provides the perfect backdrop for the Tour – and the race coverage highlights why Devon is a premier destination for cycling tourism.’

Among the elite riders confirmed to appear are Rio 2016 medallist Mark Cavendish, in his first race since clinching silver in the omnium event and Olympic legend Sir Bradley Wiggins, who was part of the men’s team pursuit that won gold for Team GB at Rio. It could prove to be one of the last times to see Wiggins in competition ahead of his retirement in November. He is the most decorated British Olympian of all time with eight medals.Other elite riders include top sprinter André Greipel and former UCI world hour record holder Rohan Dennis.

The race returns to Dartmoor for the sixth time in seven years. Haytor cemented its place in the history of the tour when in 2013 it became the first summit finish in the modern era of the race. That summit finish will be repeated this September in what will be this year’s only summit finish.

The sixth stage of the tour, from Sidmouth to Haytor on Dartmoor, will see 20 teams pass by North Tawton, Spreyton, Whiddon Down, Sandy Park, Easton near Chagford and Moretonhampstead on Friday, September 9.