This year’s Women’s Tour route is now clearer, with 5 stages centred largely on the Midlands. It’s one stage fewer than last year’s race but the race manages to fit some returns to historic Women’s Tour venues. It’s the 9th edition of the race, which was one of the first to offer equal prize money between its men’s and women’s races.
Stage 1’s stage start location in Stratford upon Avon saw a Women’s Tour finish in 2016, where Amy Pieters won ahead of Lisa Brennauer and Marianne Vos. The finish in Leamington Spa, saw Chloe Hosking win in 2017 and Sarah Roy in 2018. The next day’s opener in Northampton has also been visited before – Emma Johansson won there in 2014 and a stage start in 2016 saw Lotta Henttala.
The city centre circuit race in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter is a new feature of the race, with a race closing criterium in a major city. Another new feature is the stage from Dalby Forest to Guisborough, the furthest north stage in Women’s Tour history.
It’s the first time Warwickshire see the Grand Depart of the Women’s Tour, with the race coming to the heart of England repeatedly over the years. It also revisits the county on Stage 4 when the race begins from Coleshill, not far to the east of Birmingham. The GC looks like it will be mostly decided in the North York Moors where the men’s Tour of Britain visited Dalby Forest in 2008. Guisborough has twice hosted Tour Series rounds as well in 2021 and 2022.
2023 Women’s Tour Stages
Stage one Wednesday 7 June Stratford-upon-Avon to Royal Leamington Spa
Stage two Thursday 8 June Northampton to Ampthill
Stage three Friday 9 June Dalby Forest to Guisborough
Stage four Saturday 10 June Coleshill to Derby
Stage five Sunday 11 June Birmingham city centre circuit race
The race organisation continues to look for further commercial income as it currently doesn’t have a title sponsor, any jersey sponsors, stage sponsors or an automotive partner to supply race vehicles.
“While it seems like only yesterday that we were crowning Elisa Longo Borghini as our 2022 champion following that dramatic finale in Oxford, it feels fantastic to unveil the stages for this year’s Women’s Tour. Given the current economic climate, we have had to work harder than ever before to put together a race befitting of the world’s best teams and riders, so I must thank all of our stakeholders for their continued support of the event.
“We look forward to seeing engaged communities, packed towns, and crowded cities at this year’s race. See you all in June!”Mick Bennett, Women’s Tour race director
Main photo credit: SWPix