THE RAIN failed to deter cycling fans from turning out to the Warwickshire stage of this year’s OVO Energy Women’s Tour.
Spectators braved the elements to line the streets on Thursday and see the world’s top women cyclists battle it out in Stage four of the prestigious road race.
A total of 15 teams and 96 competitors were given a supportive send-off in Warwick before making their way around the county to finish with a hill climb to the rooftop of Warwickshire at Burton Dassett Country Park.
The race was officially started by Warwick mayor Neale Murphy, and the winner of the start flag design competition, Oscar Morley from St Margaret’s Junior School in Whitnash.
The winner of the Warwickshire stage was Kasia Niewiadoma from the Canyon/Sram Racing team, and she was presented with a trophy by Warwickshire County Council leader Izzi Seccombe, and trophy design winner Beatrice Hurst from Priors Field Primary School in Kenilworth.
Niewiadoma was also presented with a special gin by Peter Monks from Shakespeare Distillery, entitled ‘Warwickshire Winner’, which was a special one-off bottle for the cyclist who crossed the finish line first.
Coun Seccombe said: “Despite the wet weather, it was another spectacular event for Warwickshire and I want to thank everyone who braved the rain to support the incredible competitors.
“2019 marks the fourth year that the county has hosted the women’s tour and shows not only that our relationship with the organisers goes from strength to strength, but also that Warwickshire continues to be a perfect destination for cyclists.
“It is wonderful that so many of our towns and villages are involved in the event and that Warwickshire as a whole is given a global stage to showcase itself on.
“Now, we look to September and make sure that we are prepared to welcome the riders in the OVO Energy Tour of Britain and continue to put Warwickshire on the map for its excellent cycling routes.”
It was the first time the event went through all five districts and boroughs of Warwickshire – supported by Warwick District Council, Stratford District Council, Rugby Borough Council and North Warwickshire Borough Council.
The 159km route started in Warwick’s Market Place outside Shire Hall and raced through towns and villages including Leek Wootton, Kenilworth, Gibbet Hill, University of Warwick, Fillongley, Corley Ash, Bedworth Heath, Bedworth, Bulkington, Shilton, Brinklow, Brentford, Church Lawford, Long Lawford, Cawston, Bilton, Dunchurch, Wellesbourne, Pillerton Priors, Edgehill and Warmington.
It then included a 12.5km loop of Burton Dassett which saw the cyclists go through the finish line three times.