Cycling in Britain has a notable and peak in the month of June, as the increasingly popular National Bike Week is sandwiched between two prestigious professional road races. It’s the start of the month where we’ll be focussing today though, with the fourth successive year of The Women’s Tour.
The tournament has grown enormously since the inaugural race back in 2014. It now has over 200 competitors, two million spectators and, 14 million television viewers tuning in to watch the world’s best female teams and riders competing throughout the UK.
The organisers have announced that all three previous Women’s Tour Champions – our very own Lizzie Deignan (Boels Dolmans), Lisa Brennauer (Canyon//SRAM) and Marianne Vos (WM3) will line up at Stage 1 in Daventry on the 7th June. For the first time ever, the leader’s jersey will be green, meaning Lizzie will hopefully be leading the way in Cycleplan colours!
With the event fast approaching – we take a closer look at each stage of The Women’s Tour.
Stage 1: Daventry to Kettering – 147.5km
The opening stage of 2017’s OVO Energy Women’s Tour will return to the stunning Northamptonshire countryside for the fourth consecutive year. Daventry, a picturesque market town is hosting the Grand Depart for the first time.
The town’s excellent road and rail links mean it continues to have a strong business and tourist base to this day – with many visiting Daventry Country Park, which the riders will pass as they set off. Once the riders leave Daventry, their first big test will be the Queen of the Mountain climbs in Haselbech and Rockingham.Kettering, meanwhile, will welcome the peloton to the finish for the third year running.
Stage 2: The Stoke-on-Trent Stage – 144.5km
Stoke-on-Trent is the first of two stages where the riders will start and finish at the same place. Professional racing returns to the town which has been an elite race host of The Tour Series since 2010.
Expect to see the peloton fighting the awkward terrain in the glorious Staffordshire countryside before battling up the renowned twisty uphill finish that saw Marianne Vos triumph last year.
Stage 3: Atherstone to Royal Leamington Spa – 151km
Warwickshire County Council will host The Women’s Tour for the second year in a row after welcoming the riders at the start of Stage 2 in 2016. This year, the stage will finish in the remarkable town of Royal Leamington Spa. Riders will be hoping the weather is better than in Warwickshire last year, where torrential downpours dampened spirits somewhat!
This is the longest stage of the tour, featuring the familiar tough climbs in the final third of the stage, but expect another bunch sprint on the wide streets of the spa town.
Stage 4: Chesterfield & Derbyshire – 123km
The peloton will take on the Peak District once again in 2017 as they loop around Chesterfield and Derbyshire for Stage 4. It was this route, in Stage 3 of the tour last year, where our very own ambassador, Lizzie Deignan, made her significant move and grabbed the yellow jersey. She then wore it for the rest of the tour, including on the podium!
The 2017 route will be just as tough this year, with the same 2,000m of climbing to contend with. With an extra 20km of length added, will this be where Lizzie makes her move again?
Stage 5: The London Stage – 88.2km
The Grand Finale of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour will be a six-lap race around a central London circuit, taking in all the sights including; Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus and Whitehall to name a few.
It’s the first time that The Women’s Tour will have a Grand Finale in the capital. Following a similar course to the recent Tour of Britain finale, it promises to be a great day with many lining the streets to welcome home the peloton and cheer on the British riders, including Lizzie Deignan of course!
We hope you’re as excited about the Tour as we are. But whether you’re cycling to any of The Women’s Tour stages, or inspired to spin out at the next available opportunity, make sure you’re covered with Cycleplan insurance – to keep you and your bike safe wherever you go.
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