By Nick Butler

World record holder Dennis Kimetto will look to continue his 2014 form at the London Marathon ©Getty ImagesWorld record holder Dennis Kimetto will take on the likes of defending champion Wilson Kipsang and track legend Kenenisa Bekele in what has being hailed as the greatest Virgin Money London Marathon line-up in history. 

Kimetto, who clocked 2 hours 02min 57sec in Berlin in September, will look to show his record mark was no one-off in what will be his London debut, although he also boasts World Marathon Major race victories in Tokyo and Chicago as part of an impressive CV.

Kipsang, a training partner of Kimetto in Iten, will be looking for revenge after losing his world record to his compatriot, while the Olympic bronze medallist will also be chasing a third victory following triumphs in 2012 and 2014. 

"I broke Wilson's world record in Berlin last year and now I want his London Marathon crown," said Kimetto.

"I am relishing the chance to face my friend over the famous course.

"I know it won't be easy but I am confident I can go the distance whatever he throws at me."

Wilson Kipsang will look to repeat his 2014 triumph at the London Marathon ©Getty ImagesWilson Kipsang will look to repeat his 2014 triumph at the London Marathon ©Getty Images

But, as well as Kipsang, the field also includes 10 men who have run under 2:06, with Ethiopia's three-time Olympic 5,000 and 10,000 metres champion, Kenenisa Bekele the biggest name. 

Bekele, a six-time world champion at various editions of the outdoor World Athletics Championships, who remains the 5,000 and 10,000m world record holder, ran 2:05:04 to win the Paris Marathon in 2014 and will be making his London debut. 

Such is the depth of the field he is only the ninth fastest in the line-up, but as someone famed for a rapid finish who has carefully worked his way up over the 26.2 mile distance until he feels able to take on the world's best, he will be a threat. 

In a line-up dominated by Kenyans and Ethiopians, Kenya's 2011 London Marathon champion Emmanuel Mutai, who ran the second quickest time ever when finishing runner-up to Kimetto in Berlin last year, and former world 5,000m champion Eliud Kipchoge, winner of October's Chicago Marathon, will also be present.

Sammy Kitwara, second in Chicago and third in Tokyo last year, will also compete, while Ethiopia's 2012 Dubai Marathon champion Ayele Abshero and compatriot Tsegaye Mekonnen will join Bekele in attempting to upset the Kenyan party.

Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele, the 2013 Great North Run winner, will aim to upset the Kenyan favourites ©Getty ImagesEthiopia's Kenenisa Bekele, the 2013 Great North Run winner, will aim to upset the Kenyan favourites ©Getty Images

Opposition to African domination is likely to be led by Ukraine's Sergiy Lebid, a nine-time winner of the European Cross Country title, while the home charge will be led by London 2012 Olympian Scott Overall, fifth at the Berlin Marathon in 2011.

The major absentee from the line-up announced today is Great Britain's Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m champion Mo Farah, who finishing eight on his marathon debut in London last year, is turning his attention back to the track as he prepares to defend his two titles at Rio 2016.

The race, the third stage of the annual six-race World Marathon Majors competition, is due take place on April 26, with the women's field still to be announced. 

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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