Olympic cyclists to race in Northamptonshire

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More details have been revealed about a groundbreaking women’s cycling event, which will have its Grand Depart in Oundle.

One of the team behind The Women’s Tour, Guy Elliott, of SweetSpot, met community and business leaders in Northampton today, Tuesday, February 4, to tell them more about the event and its potential importance to women’s cycling, Northamptonshire and the health of teenage girls and young women.

The five day event starts in Oundle on Wednesday, May 7, finishing its first day 60 miles later in Northampton. It ends on Sunday, May 11, in Bury St Edmunds.

Mr Elliott and his team are behind the highly successful men’s Tour of Britain, which attracts top names including Bradley Wiggins, and he said the women’s event would have “true equality with the men’s tour”. He said: “When we said what we were planning to do the experts said: ‘You will never make this happen,’ but we have.

“Female athletes are great potential role models for young women and sponsors can achieve great returns for a modest investment. To be associated with something that is a game changer will be very powerful.”

Women’s cycling has always been a very poor cousin of men’s cycling but Guy and his team hope The Women’s Tour will change this. He said: “Britain is viewed as the country that does innovation in cycling, and with Team GB Women in the global elite the whole world wil lbe looking to see if we can make this happen.”

Top riders including Laura Trott, Emma Pooley, Lizzie Armistead and Joanna Rowsell are all lined up to take part.

The idea of the tour is to have an elite race wrapped round a wider social agenda of getting teenage girls and young mums interested in sport and being healthy, as 88 per cent of teenage girls do not do enough exercise to maintian their health, and there will be Women in Sport festivals in each town.

The breakfast meeting was opened by Cllr Heather Smith, from Northamptonshire County Council, who said the council had leapt at the opportunity to be involved in the inaugural event. She said: “This event links into a lot of our objectives including trying to get girls involved in sport and introducing them to role models who aren’t pop stars. The event will help kickstart our Summer of Cycling.”

Oundle’s town centre manager, Paula Prince, said: “It’s absolutely amazing that The Women’s Tour is starting in Oundle. We are doing a lot of events beforehand including a Wellness event on the Sunday, a ‘pick and mix’ day of exercises including zumba and tai chi on Bank Holiday Monday and we are closing the town centre on Tuesday and dividing it into five zones, including a bike world and healthy street food. The day ends with a party from 4pm to 10pm with fireeaters, face painting, music and other fun events.”