Colchester and Clacton will host the penultimate stage of the Women’s Tour as the world’s top cyclists get set to race from the historic castle town to the English coast on Friday 8 October*.
Today’s announcement by SweetSpot Group, the award-winning company behind the Women’s Tour, has been timed to coincide with International Women’s Day which calls on everyone to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements.
Stage five will mark the first time that Colchester welcomes the Women’s Tour, which forms a part of the prestigious UCI Women’s WorldTour series, although the town’s notable links to cycling include hosting a Tour of Britain stage finish (2010) and four rounds of the Tour Series.
The stage will proudly showcase Colchester’s Northern Gateway Sports Park, the new, 76-acre, multi-use venue that includes a one-mile, closed-road cycling circuit. In a two-year agreement with race organisers SweetSpot, Colchester will also host the start of Grand Départ of next year’s race in June 2022.
Colchester Borough Council in partnership with Colchester Amphora Trading Ltd, it’s wholly-owned commercial company, will work alongside SweetSpot to host and promote the Colchester event and ensure residents and businesses in the borough can support and be part of the occasion.
Meanwhile, this stage represents the third finish in Clacton since the race’s inaugural 2014 edition. Marianne Vos, the Women’s Tour first-ever champion, won along the seaside resort’s promenade seven years ago, before Belgian Jolien D’hoore triumphed there in 2015. The latter stage generated a net economic impact of over £1.3m for the local economy.
This year Clacton is celebrating its 150th anniversary with a series of events and activities planned around the town, while there are high hopes other regular events can return in line with the government’s roadmap. People can keep up to date by downloading the free Love Tendring app.
The full route of this stage, including SKODA Queen of the Mountains and sprints locations, will be revealed in due course.
Cllr Theresa Higgins, Colchester Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Commercial Services, said: “As a keen cyclist I am delighted with our success in attracting such a high-profile, global event to Colchester. As well as giving the town a huge commercial boost, it will no doubt inspire people of every age and ability to get on their bikes and enjoy the cycle lanes and open spaces in and around our borough.”
Cllr David King, Colchester Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Business and Resources, said: “The economic recovery of the borough is our priority, and so we welcome the good news that Colchester is to host a leg of the prestigious Women’s Tour. This spectacular event will attract many visitors to Colchester to watch the elite riders race through the town and will showcase our outstanding new cycling facilities at the Northern Gateway Sports Park – not least the fully floodlit one-mile cycle track, pump track and learn to ride facility.”
Councillor Alex Porter, Tendring District Council Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism, said: “It is always a pleasure to have the Women’s Tour come to the Essex Sunshine Coast, and with our beautiful countryside and coastline we can provide a stunning backdrop for this top cycling race.
“There is an incredible atmosphere along the route, especially at the finish line, and I am really looking forward to having the race come back to Clacton – particularly in the town’s 150th anniversary year, when there is so much going on.”
Mick Bennett, Women’s Tour race director, added: “Colchester and Clacton both have a long history with SweetSpot’s events, so we’re delighted to be visiting them again on the penultimate day of this year’s Women’s Tour.
“Clacton and Tendring District Council’s continued support of the Women’s Tour should not be underestimated. They backed the inaugural edition of the race in 2014 and have continued to show their desire to push for gender equality in sport ever since.
“The previous two stages may have culminated with hard-fought bunch sprints but if the wind blows in from the sea who knows what could happen!
“I’m also delighted to welcome Colchester on board as our Grand Départ start host for 2022, which, together with the opening of the stunning new Northern Gateway Sports Park, really emphasises the town’s commitment to promoting healthy living and sustainable transport initiatives.”
Danielle Every, British Cycling’s cycling delivery director, said: “The Women’s Tour continues to go from strength to strength, with a debut stage for Colchester and a return to Clacton both highlighting the stature in which the race is held on the women’s international road calendar.
“The growth of the event plays a crucial role in our ongoing ambition to get more women and girls on bikes, and we’re sure that the riders on show later this year will help to inspire more girls to get in the saddle in Essex and beyond and maybe even get out on a local club or group ride or have a go at a competitive or challenge event.
“British Cycling remain concerned about the gender imbalances within cycling and are committed to do all we can to help promote women’s cycling and support female cyclists, coaches and volunteers whatever their aspirations across all disciplines.”
The Women’s Tour, which forms a part of the prestigious UCI Women’s WorldTour, will start in Oxfordshire at Bicester and finish with a stage from Haverhill to Felixstowe in Suffolk.
SweetSpot will announce full details of the penultimate stage and the 2021 route in the summer once alternative dates of Monday 4 to Saturday 9 October* are confirmed.
The Women’s Tour continues to look for a headline sponsor for 2021 and beyond. With cycling enjoying a boom in the UK, and hundreds of thousands of new and returning cyclists taking to two wheels, partnership opportunities for brands looking to target a healthy national audience and to be associated with the world’s leading women’s professional cycling race are available at all levels and on a regional level to support individual stages.