Women’s Tour cycling race to return to Kettering

Cycle Race: Kettering: Women's Cycle Race final stage finishing in Kettering town centre. 
Winners come into Sheep Street
Sunday June 19  2016 NNL-160619-190757009

Cycle Race: Kettering: Women's Cycle Race final stage finishing in Kettering town centre. Winners come into Sheep Street Sunday June 19 2016 NNL-160619-190757009

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The Women’s Tour cycling race will come back to Kettering in 2017 after councillors accepted an offer to host the race.

Kettering Council had been asked to take part again by Northamptonshire County Council, and the authority’s executive committee unanimously agreed to at a meeting last night (Wednesday).

Although the 2017 schedule has not yet been finalised, Kettering’s town centre is the preferred location for the conclusion.

Other parts of the borough, including Desborough and Rothwell, have seen the race run through the area.

It is estimated that last year’s Northamptonshire stage, which attracted 80,000 spectators, had a positive economic impact of at least £1.6m.

Local cycling clubs also saw an increase in membership uptake in the borough after the race.

Next year’s race is likely to take place midweek rather than a Sunday as in 2016, and will cost the council a £40,000 contribution – the same as this year.

But councillors said they must improve their efforts to attract more sponsorship after it was revealed that last year they only managed to raise £2,000.

Cllr David Howes (Con, Welland), branded the effort ‘shocking’.

He said: “£2,000 is shocking, absolutely shocking.

“We had conversations about sponsorship and to only muster £2,000 is poor.

“There is no doubt that this puts Kettering on the map.”

Cllr Keli Watts (Lab, William Knibb), said: “I was very disappointed to say the least to hear that figure.

“Cllr Howes had a point, the council owe it to local council tax payers to do much more to reduce the burden of the cost.”

Councillors were told that they were making a decision on next year’s race earlier to make sure they could put more effort into raising sponsorship.

Council leader Russell Roberts said: “I think this is a fantastic opportunity to put Kettering on the map.”