Cyclists excited ahead of start of Friends Life Women’s Tour

Giorgia Bronzini, Emma Johansson, Marianne Vos, Lizzie Armitstead
Giorgia Bronzini, Emma Johansson, Marianne Vos, Lizzie Armitstead

Olympic gold medallist Marianne Vos spoke of her excitement ahead of the first stage of the Friends Life Women’s Tour which starts in Oundle tomorrow (Wednesday, May 7).

The reigning road and cyclo-cross world champion was one of four riders answering questions at a press conference held in Kettering tonight (Tuesday, May 6). She told the assembled reporters and photographers she had never witnessed such a large media presence for the launch of a women’s race before and added that the tour was a “huge stage” for women’s cycling.

Also answering questions from journalists were Emma Johansson, who rides for Orica-GreenEdge, Giorgia Bronzini, who rides for the Wiggle Honda team, and Olympic silver medallist and current British national champion Lizzie Armitstead, who rides for the Dutch team Boels Dolmans. Lizzie said it would be a really proud moment wearing the striped jersey of the British champion during a British tour, and added that she was also very proud that the aim of the organisers, SweetSpot, was to have the most prestigious road race for women based in Britain.

Tour director Mike Bennett said that the excitement of the women’s Olympic road race had been the inspiration for this event and that it was a “fantastic” route.

The riders were all very cagey about their chances, with Marianne saying it was “a new race and unpredictable for us all” and Emma adding that “it is very exciting not knowing what is going to happen”.

The race starts in Oundle at 11am tomorrow and ends in Northampton at around 1.30pm to 2pm.