The world’s leading teams will head to the OVO Energy Women’s Tour that begins in Suffolk, with a race finish in Stowmarket, in one month’s time (10 – 15 June) to contest the toughest yet edition of Britain’s biggest women’s race.
Almost 800 kilometres of racing await as full details of the event, that will once again offer prize money parity with the men’s Tour of Britain, thanks to award winning independent energy supplier OVO Energy, was announced today.
After five successful editions since the race was created in 2014, the OVO Energy Women’s Tour expands to six stages, covering 790 kilometres of racing and over 8,400 metres of ascent, with two tough stages in Mid and South Wales concluding the race on Friday 14 and Saturday 15 June.
The race will also include a hill-top finish for the first time, coming on Stage Four in Warwickshire on Thursday 13 June with riders tackling the 1.2 kilometre, 5% average gradient climb of Burton Dassett Country Park on three occasions during the stage.
While the OVO Energy Women’s Tour returns to Suffolk and Warwickshire, race organisers SweetSpot will host stages in Kent, Oxfordshire, Powys and Carmarthenshire for the first time as it continues to bring the prestigious UCI Women’s WorldTour event to new audiences.
Adrian Letts, CEO of Retail, OVO Energy, said:
“We’re incredibly excited for this year's OVO Energy Women’s Tour to begin, bringing fans and spectators across the country unparalleled access to watch the world's best teams and riders competing on their doorsteps. From more challenging routes to professional facilities and race infrastructure, the most prestigious multi-day stage race in women’s cycling has been a notable example of what’s right in women’s professional cycling. Last year we announced the top cyclists at the Women’s Tour would compete for equal prize money, taking a meaningful step towards gender parity in cycling. We’re proud to have committed to matching the prize money again, helping to provide an equal platform and continuing to inspire increased participation in one of the lowest carbon forms of transport."
The overall winner of the 2019 OVO Energy Women’s Tour will again be presented with the OVO Energy Green Jersey following the final stage finish at Pembrey Country Park in Carmarthenshire, South Wales, while riders and teams will benefit from an overall prize fund rises of €97,880 (approximately £83,500), up from €89,999 in 2018, thanks to OVO Energy.
“Excitement is building with one month to go for what will be the toughest edition yet of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour, bringing the race, and the world’s very best cyclists, to new areas and audiences and hopefully inspiring new, existing and returning cyclists,” said OVO Energy Women’s Tour Race Director Mick Bennett.
“This year’s race has our best ever line-up of teams and we look forward to seeing them racing across our six stages from Suffolk to Carmarthenshire next month in what is sure to be an action packed edition of the race.”
Top tier partners SKODA, the event’s official car partner since its creation in 2014, and Eisberg, the UK’s number one alcohol free wine, return to once again partner the Queen of the Mountains and Sprints Jerseys respectively.
The OVO Energy Women’s Tour’s successful partnership with Breast Cancer Care will continue for a third successive edition with the Breast Cancer Care Points Jersey and all 96 riders again given a Pink Ribbon complete with a personalised, individual message written by somebody affected by breast cancer.
Fans will also be able to show their support for their favourite riders competing in the 2019 race by donating to Breast Cancer Care via JustGiving donation pages set up in each participating teams’ name.
The final jersey in the OVO Energy Women’s Tour will again be one for the home riders, with HSBC UK British Cycling partnering the Best British Rider jersey as a part of their
#OneInAMillion campaign to inspire one million more women cycling and to close cycling’s gender gap.
Commenting on the announcement, British Cycling’s Commercial Director, Jonathan Rigby said;
“The OVO Energy Women’s Tour continues to be the flagship event for women’s cycling, attracting the world’s best riders to Britain. At British Cycling, we’re very proud that the sport in this country is in the vanguard of change transforming cycling globally, but one of the many benefits of the event is the opportunity that it affords to British riders to take on the very best, in front of home crowds and on home soil.
“The Best British Rider jersey will represent a chance to celebrate established or up-and-coming British riders, as well as the growing strength of women’s cycling in Britain as a whole.”
Fitness tech company Wahoo return as partners to the OVO Energy Women’s Tour for a second year and will sponsor the Wahooligan Combativity Award, presented to the most aggressive rider on each of the six stages.
All 15 of the world’s top teams from the start of season UCI Women’s WorldTour rankings have accepted their invitations to the event, and will be joined by British team Drops to complete the 16-team, 96-rider field for the race that gets underway in Beccles, Suffolk, on Monday 10 June.
To mark one month to go until spectators can cheer on the world’s best in this free-to-attend event, spectators now can find full details of all six stages on the event website, womenstour.co.uk. This includes a variety of stage maps featuring the locations of all the SKODA Queen of the Mountains climbs and intermediate Eisberg Sprints, as well as full stage timings, plus details of the ITV4 coverage, which will see highlights broadcast on the channel at 20:00 in the UK every evening.
Launched in 2014 by SweetSpot Group, the OVO Energy Women’s Tour is widely regarded as the world’s leading international stage race for women. The race attracts 300,000 roadside spectators, in addition to a worldwide television and online audience of nearly five million people.
Last year’s edition provided an £7.8 million economic boost to the economy, with 87 per cent of visitors to the race describing it as “very enjoyable”.