Plans are in place for the inaugural women’s Tour of Britain, which will stage its Grand Depart in Oundle’s Market Place next week.
The race’s opening stage begins in the town, winding its way through a number of towns and villages before finishing in Northampton.
Last week, Northamptonshire cyclist Hannah Barnes visited Oundle School to speak to pupils about her training and career.
Barnes said, given the world-class quality of the event’s 96 riders, the event was the biggest of the year and “pretty much the Olympics”.
Barnes, who won the opening stage of the women’s Tour de San Luis in Argentina in January, celebrates her 21st birthday on the day the Tour begins.
The Women’s Tour is ranked at the 2.1 level by the UCI, the sport’s governing body, putting it alongside the Ladies Tour of Qatar, Giro Rosa and La Route de France, as one of the world’s top ranked multi-day races for women.
The town of Oundle is expecting 5,000 visitors to support and watch the race, along with the world’s media.
Helicopter cameras will cover the entire route, and highlights will be broadcast nightly on ITV4.
Paralympic legend Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE will officially start the race at the Grand Depart at 11am next Wednesday.