Lizzie Armitstead says it will be a “dream come true” to ride in the world champion’s rainbow jersey when the women’s Tour de Yorkshire departs her home town of Otley on Saturday.
The one-day race ends in Doncaster and follows the same 136km route the men will tackle later the same day.
“I never expected to compete at home in a UCI women’s race – let alone as world champion,” she told BBC Radio York.
“It’s my first race in the UK in the rainbow jersey and it’ll be wonderful.”
Armitstead, who won the world title in Richmond, USA said the race was not on her original schedule for this year and her “main focus is Rio” for the Olympics road race as she tries to better the silver medal she won in the rain at London 2012.
However, the 27-year-old added: “It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to race at home so I wouldn’t miss it.
“There will be plenty of my friends and family watching so I have extra motivation to put on a good show.
“Knowing the roads and the home support will give me an advantage – as well as being used to the Yorkshire weather that it sounds like we have in store for this weekend.”
However, despite the race featuring three categorised climbs, Armitstead says she expects the route to suit the sprinters such as Dutch rider Kirsten Wild.
“My preparation for the race hasn’t been as perfect,” she added. “I’d planned a long time ago to take this week off the bike for other commitments, so I’m just hoping for a fast, aggressive race – but I’m not expecting to win.”
The winner of the women’s race gets £15,000 – more than the winner of the men’s race and £14,000 more than 2015 champion Louise Mahe.