WARWICKSHIRE will feature as part of the virtual replacement for the 2020 Women’s Tour – the new SKODA V-SERIES Women’s Tour event.
The Burton Dassett hill climb has been selected by race organisers SweetSpot to be one of the three stages of the event which will feature the world’s top teams and take place entirely on the RGT Cycling virtual platform.
Warwickshire has featured annually in the Women’s Tour since 2016, with Poland’s Kasia Niewiadoma winning the real life stage to the top of the Burton Dassett climb in June 2019.
Now riders will battle it out on a virtual representation of the route and gradients of the climb during the second stage of the SKODA V-SERIES Women’s Tour on the evening of Thursday, June 18.
Using RGT Cycling’s ‘Magic Roads’ software, event organisers have been able to utilise GPX files to simulate the exact routes and profiles, although the scenery shown will differ to that normally seen along the route.
The other two stages will take place on a section of route used by the Women’s Tour at Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk and Canary Wharf in London.
Members of the public will also have the chance to ride the three routes with a suggested donation of £5 to raise money for charity partners Breast Cancer Now and Mind.
Named the ‘V-SERIES’ as a nod to the virtual racing scene, the V-SERIES is a stand-alone event to the real-world road racing Women’s Tour event.
All the action will be broadcast live and streamed online on a variety of platforms, with racing getting under way at 7pm each evening and featuring some of the world’s leading teams including Bigla Katusha, Bizkaia Durango, Boels Dolmans Cycling Team, CAMS Tifosi, Cogeas Mettler Look Pro Cycling, Drops, FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope, Great Britain, Hitec Products, Lotto Soudal Ladies, Rally Cycling, Storey Racing, Team Breeze, Team TIBCO Silicon Valley Bank and Trek-Segafredo.
More details on where to watch and how to take part in the public rides will be available via www.womenstour.co.uk in the coming days.
Lisa Kirkbright, communications manager at SKODA UK, said: “I am delighted we have been able to ensure the Women’s Tour continues to go ahead in 2020 – bringing exciting live sport to everyone at a time when it is needed most.
“SKODA is passionate about supporting the next generation of elite cyclists so it is fantastic the first event of this Virtual Series replaces the postponed Women’s Tour, which has long been the most globally recognised event of the UCI Women’s WorldTour. I am excited to see how this innovative and new approach to cycling will inspire future generations to get on their bikes.”
Commenting on the announcement, Jonathan Durling, partnerships director for organisers SweetSpot said: “We have been working with RGT Cycling since 2019 to develop a virtual version of one of our events to bring the race and athletes to a new audience and, as one of the jewels in the crown of SweetSpot’s portfolio of events, it is great the Women’s Tour has become the first with which we can do that.
“As soon as the COVID-19 situation hit and we were forced to postpone the Women’s Tour in March, we accelerated those plans and have worked tirelessly as a team to bring the inaugural SKODA V-SERIES Women’s Tour to fruition.
“eSports are an important and growing area of both the sporting landscape and in the arena of professional cycling and we look forward to bringing our event to screens around the world.”
Created by SweetSpot Group in 2014, the Women’s Tour is the UK’s first international stage race for women – bringing the world’s top riders to compete in Great Britain as a part of the UCI Women’s WorldTour.
The race, which has been won by the likes of Marianne Vos (2014), Lizzie Deignan (2016, 2019) and Coryn Rivera (2018), attracts an annual roadside audience of 300,000, as well as more than three million fans through linear and online platforms.