International cycle event to start in Northamptonshire

Great Britain cyclist Lizzie Armitstead could be racing through Northamptonshire next year.  Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire.

Great Britain cyclist Lizzie Armitstead could be racing through Northamptonshire next year. Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire.

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The first Women’s Tour cycling event will have its Grand Depart in Northamptonshire.

The inaugural event will bring world-class women’s cycling to the UK in the country’s first ever international stage race, with five stages taking place between Wednesday, May 7, and Sunday, May 11, 2014.

Created by the SweetSpot Group, the tour will see the world’s top riders competing against Britain’s Olympic heroines.

Details of the full route are still to be announced, but it is planned that the entire first stage, including the Grand Depart, will be held in Northamptonshire, with a finish in Northampton town centre.

Deputy leader for Northamptonshire County Council, Cllr Heather Smith, said: “This is fantastic news for Northamptonshire and I am very pleased that we will be hosting the first stage of this prestigious event.

“Not only will the Women’s Tour bring significant economic benefits to the county, it is also a real opportunity to promote cycling and women’s sport locally.

“We want to use this event to encourage everyone in Northamptonshire, and in particular the county’s young people, to get cycling and improve their health and wellbeing. This will be a very exciting event for Northamptonshire and will herald the start of a summer of sporting events across the whole county that everyone can look forward to.”

Cllr David Mackintosh, the leader of Northampton Council, said: “The Women’s Tour promises to become an exciting fixture in the sporting calendar for years to come, so I am delighted that Northampton will host part of this historic first stage. Last year many of us were glued to our televisions watching all of the action in the velodrome and road races at London 2012. So I am sure the world’s best female cyclists will get a good reception as they race through our historic streets next year.”