Warwickshire to host first-ever Women’s Tour individual time trial

  • 10-mile test around Atherstone celebrates Britain’s rich time trial heritage
  • Banbury unveiled as finish location for the race’s opening stage in Oxfordshire
  • Race organisers SweetSpot continue to search for stage four host venue(s) owing to calendar move to October
  • Unsung heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic to be celebrated daily as part of the race’s Ride for Heroes initiative

The Women’s Tour will break new ground once again in 2021 when Warwickshire hosts the first individual time trial stage in race history this October.

Atherstone will host the time trial’s start and finish on day three of this year’s race (Wednesday 6 October), marking a record fourth time that the Women’s Tour will have visited the North Warwickshire market town.

This stage is set to be the first individual time trial held after the UCI World Championships in Flanders, Belgium, meaning British fans could get to see the newly-crowned world champion tackle the route – 16 kilometres/10 miles in recognition of the UK’s rich time trial heritage – in the legendary rainbow jersey.

Warwickshire previously made Women’s Tour history when it hosted the race’s first uphill finish – held at Burton Dassett Country Park and won by Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon SRAM) – in 2019.

“This news makes me really happy! Time trialling is an important part of cycling – it is a Olympic discipline – but we don’t have many opportunities to ride them, so I’m really excited that the Women’s Tour has added one! This type of stage is good for me – but it’s also good for the future of cycling: younger athletes can learn so much by doing them.

“The Women’s Tour is such a great event – I still get goosebumps when I think about how many schoolchildren line the side of the roads. I hope that this is the case once again in October!”

Annemiek van Vleuten

“Warwickshire County Council is committed to cycling which it has shown in recent years with its support for the Women’s Tour and the Tour of Britain. Both events have always had a very positive impact on the local economy with the many visitors they bring to Warwickshire.

“We hope that we will be in a position to enjoy similar numbers this year.  But regardless of any restrictions on travel or size of gatherings, the county remains a staunch supporter of both cycling and promoting women in sport, in particular encouraging more young girls to participate in sport. We will continue to promote cycling at every opportunity as a healthy pursuit and an environmentally-friendly form of travel.”

Councillor Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council

“We are delighted to welcome the Women’s Tour back to North Warwickshire and we are particularly pleased that Atherstone has been selected to host the first-ever Women’s Tour time trial. We will need to review the health guidelines at the time of the event but hope we will be able to generate the warm welcome that we have on previous occasions. The events create great excitement in North Warwickshire and will provide a fantastic boost to the local area as we seek to recover from the effects of the COVID outbreak.”

Councillor David Wright, Leader of North Warwickshire Borough Council

Stage 1 details also announced – Bicester to Banbury

Elsewhere, further details of the Women’s Tour’s Grand Départ in Oxfordshire have also been released. Bicester and Banbury will welcome the world’s best riders on Monday 4 October, with stage one of this year’s race taking place 842 days on from the finish of the 2019 Women’s Tour, the last edition to take place to date owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re delighted to welcome the Women’s Tour back to Oxfordshire, inspiring more people to get their bikes out of the shed. Over the last year, we have seen more and more residents cycling. We hope by welcoming back the race, even more people will take to two-wheels, the healthy transport option. The benefits of cycling for personal health cannot be overstated, along with reducing congestion on our roads. Oxfordshire is the perfect backdrop for this race, and we look forward to showing off the county at its best.”

Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council

“Having the start and finish of the first leg of the Women’s Tour in Cherwell is a real honour. It’s the perfect opportunity to showcase what our wonderful district has to offer and we look forward to welcoming the riders, teams and fans for the race this autumn.”

Councillor Barry Wood, Leader of Cherwell District Council

Stage 2 details – Walsall

The 2021 Women’s Tour will also visit Walsall for the first time on stage two (Tuesday 5 October), as the Black Country town becomes only the third venue – after Stoke-on-Trent and Chesterfield in 2017 – to host the start and finish of a road stage on the same day.

Stages 5 and 6 details – Essex and Suffolk

The race will culminate with two previously-announced stages in the East of England: Colchester to Clacton (stage five, Friday 8 October) and Haverhill to Felixstowe in Suffolk (stage six, Saturday 9 October).

Organisers and British Cycling intend that each stage of the Women’s Tour will also be used to celebrate Britain’s key workers and community heroes.  Each day will play host to a special ride giving us a chance to say Thank You and show our appreciation to our community heroes, offering them an unforgettable experience to ride ahead of the professionals at the race.

2018 Women’s Tour in Stafford

As it stands, the stages of the 2021 Women’s Tour are as follows:

Stage one, Monday 4 October

  • Start: Bicester, Oxfordshire*
  • Finish: Banbury, Oxfordshire*

Stage two, Tuesday 5 October

  • Start/finish: Walsall*

Stage three, Wednesday 6 October

  • Start/finish: Atherstone individual time trial, Warwickshire

Stage four, Thursday 7 October

  • Start/finish: TBC

Stage five, Friday 8 October

  • Start: Colchester, Essex*
  • Finish: Clacton, Essex

Stage six, Saturday 9 October

  • Start: Haverhill, Suffolk*
  • Finish: Felixstowe, Suffolk

(*indicates new venue for the Women’s Tour.  Race dates subject to final confirmation from the UCI)

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent rescheduling of the race from its traditional June dates, the original planned venue for stage four is no longer able to host the race. Therefore SweetSpot are seeking a new partner(s) to fill the vacated slot on Thursday 7 October.

“Including a time trial within the Women’s Tour route has been a goal of ours for several years so we are delighted to once again be developing the event and creating race-changing moments with our partners in Warwickshire.  We are sure this will be immensely popular with riders and ensure that the Women’s Tour continues to draw a fantastic field of riders this year.

“This year’s race will be extra special, not only as the first edition of the Women’s Tour for over two years, but also as a celebration of Britain and all of the communities that we will race through.  We are working with British Cycling and all of our regional stakeholders to ensure not only that the event can go ahead, but that for every area we visit it is an extra special occasion for all involved and brings the wider cycling community together.”

Hugh Roberts, SweetSpot Group chief executive

“We’re immensely proud of the way in which the Women’s Tour continues to break new ground, establishing itself as one of the real highlights of the international racing calendar and taking women’s racing to a bigger and wider audience than ever before. 

“At British Cycling we are proud of our efforts over recent years to get more women and girls cycling and address the gender imbalance in the sport, however we acknowledge that there is still more to do, and the continued growth and success of this country’s flagship women’s race plays a really important role in helping us to achieve those ambitions.”

Dani Every, British Cycling’s cycling delivery director

Coverage of the Women’s Tour in the UK will once again be available through ITV4, who have supported the race since its inaugural 2014 edition. SweetSpot previously revealed the race’s intentions of being broadcast live around the world for the first time in 2021 as part of a partnership with Eurosport x GCN.

Full details of the 2021 Women’s Tour – including stage routes and timetables; SKODA Queen of the Mountains and sprint locations; competing teams and riders – will be announced in due course.

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.

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