THE WORLD’S best women cyclists will be returning to Warwickshire this summer.
The county will host the longest leg of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour for a third year running as riders from 17 international teams do battle during the five day race won last year by Poland’s Kasia Niewiadoma.
The Warwickshire leg on Friday June 15 will see the riders racing over 150km starting in Atherstone and finishing on Leamington’s Parade.
During the Warwickshire leg the competitors will also take on two mountain climbs – an ascent of more than 1,700 metres – at Edge Hill and Burton Dassett Country Park. The route will also pass Warwick and Kenilworth castles.
Last year’s event was hailed a great success with some 95,000 spectators lining the route – including some 2,500 school children.
The race was broadcast in more than 100 countries, across six continents, including every country in Europe for the first time.
And it was estimated businesses in the county benefitted to the tune of around £2million.
Warwickshire County Council leader Izzi Seccombe said: “We’re very pleased to host the cycle tour again.
“It has been so welcomed by all the Warwickshire residents and the children who were out on the sides of the road last year. We love the engagement of the children and schools.
“It’s all about successful female role models. It’s really something children can see and say ‘I could do that’.
“I’m very delighted its coming back again and enables us to show what Warwickshire can offer. The county has some great sites and I’m pleased to be able to show them all off again.”
Olympic cyclist and tour ambassador Ciara Horne, who grew up Kenilworth and went to school in Stratford, was equally pleased to see the race back in her home county.
She told The Observer: “Last year’s event was spectacular with so many spectators lining the route there.
“The race provides an amazing opportunity to inspire both young and old, to get on their bikes and get active.”
Launched in 2014, the OVO Energy Women’s Tour is taking place over five stages with coverage on ITV4.
Visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/womens-tour for more information.