SOME of the world’s top women cyclists will be going head-to-head across Warwickshire during the second stage of the Aviva Women’s Tour.
Top racers, including the likes of World Champion Lizzie Armitstead and reigning Aviva Women’s Tour Champion Lisa Brennauer, will race the full length of the county from Atherstone to Stratford-upon-Avon on Thursday, June 16 in the second stage of the race.
A total of 96 of cyclists will make up the field, which will tackle the 140-kilometre stage through the heart of the county, passing through the likes of Atherstone, Kenilworth, Warwick, Shipston-on-Stour and Stratford-upon-Avon.
Warwickshire County Council and the University of Warwick have teamed up to host the stage.
Leader of Warwickshire County Council, Cllr Isobel Seccombe, said: “Warwickshire is giving its full support to the Aviva Women’s Tour and we are truly excited to welcome this significant event to our beautiful County.
“We intend to embrace the opportunities the Tour will bring, by showcasing the County as the best place to invest, live, work and visit as well as helping to encourage more women and girls into cycling and sport in general.
“A sporting event of this scale brings with it a number of key benefits, ranging from public health and education to economic growth and tourism, all of which are key priorities for the county.
“More importantly, the Aviva Women’s Tour puts Warwickshire on the international sporting stage
and as a place that has the skills, infrastructure and environment to make it a great success.
“We will be working closely with business, communities and schools to maximise support and engagement before, during and after the Tour.”
Taking place over five days, the 2016 edition of the race will be a part of the new UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar, currently one of just four multi-day stage races on the season long programme of races for the world’s top riders and teams. Highlights of each stage will be shown on ITV4 every evening during the race.
University of Warwick Vice Chancellor Professor Stuart Croft added: “We are delighted to be partnering with Warwickshire County Council to take up this great opportunity to shine a spotlight on the county by hosting this sporting event.
“We want to encourage our staff and students to take up cycling as part of a healthy lifestyle and as an environmentally friendly form of travel, and we have therefore made a number of investments to establish new cycling routes and facilities and to provide more access to bikes for our staff and students.
“We are sure that this event will help us to inspire people to take up cycling or to cycle more.”
Aviva Women’s Tour Race Director Mick Bennett said the stage would take place ‘through some beautiful Warwickshire scenery with several testing climbs in the south of the county in the final third of the stage, before what we hope will be a very popular finish in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon’.