The leading British women’s race, the Women’s Tour, will take a one-year hiatus for 2023. The race was struggling to achieve the required sponsorship and began a crowdfunding process to cover the shortfall. A lack of title sponsors and stage sponsors meant that up to £500k of sponsorship value was still up for grab just 3 months from the race’s start in Stratford upon Avon on June 7th 2023. The route had been announced previously.
The race organisers, Sweetspot, have decided to not hold the 2023 race as a result and focus on getting a solid race together for 2024. The reasons for the postponement are the increased running costs that are around 20% higher than last year, plus the lack of commercial sponsorship squeezing the budget from bother sides.
Despite a 3-week crowdfunding attempt that received donations from over 500 fans, this decision means that ultimately it proved to be unsuccessful. Everyone who donated will receive a refund through GoFundMe.
The cancellation of the 2023 Women’s Tour comes after the decision to also put the Tour Series on hiatus for 2023 as well. It is believed the men’s Tour of Britain is unaffected for now due to a number of separate sponsorship agreements already in place.
Since its inauguration in 2014, the race has led the way in the fight towards gender equality in sport, be it from raising rider welfare standards and prize money to providing guaranteed TV, online and media coverage. The Women’s Tour has a prestigious list of former winners, including the likes of Marianne Vos (2014), Elisa Longo Borghini (2022), and home favourite Lizzie Deigan, the only two-time winner of the race to date (2016 and 2019).
In addition to generating over £55m for the UK economy, the event has featured an inspirational partnership with Breast Cancer Now, energised future generations through its centrepiece school engagement programme, and showcased the best of Britain’s best towns, cities and countryside to a worldwide audience.
Organisers are already working on plans for next year’s edition, which will mark the 10th anniversary of the first Women’s Tour. Wales will host the event’s Grand Départ for the first time as part of a long-term agreement already in place with the Welsh Government. Commercial partners wishing to be involved in the 2024 edition can find out more information at womenstour.co.uk/partners/commercial-opportunities