Stage Two of this year’s Women’s Tour cycle race will start in Rushden.
The 145km route of the race, one of the highlights of the cycling calendar, will start at Hall Park on Thursday, June 14.
After leaving Rushden the cyclists, which could include Northamptonshire’s Hannah and Alice Barnes, will go through Wymington, Podington, Wollaston and Bozeat.
From there the route goes to Cogenhoe, through Salcey Forest and around the south of the county before finishing in Daventry.
Race director Mick Bennett said: “After hosting last year’s grand départ, we are thrilled to return to Northamptonshire for stage two of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour, the fifth time in as many editions that the county has welcomed the event.
“This year we welcome a new stage start in Rushden, a town that has been keen to host the race for many years.
“We know from our previous visits that the locals will turn out in force for the race, especially on the gruelling Newnham Hill climb – situated just a few kilometres south of the finish in Daventry - which could well decide the winner of the stage.”
Northamptonshire hosted the first ever stage of the race in May 2014, and last year’s race passed through Corby before finishing in Kettering’s town centre.
Steven North, leader of East Northamptonshire Council, said: “We’re so pleased and honoured to welcome the tour once again to East Northamptonshire which we hope will once more bring a real economic boost to our businesses as well as inspiring more people to take up cycling and get active.”
Sarah Peacock, from Rushden Town Council, said: “This is a fabulous opportunity to enjoy a world-class sporting event on our doorstep, so please turn out on June 14 and let’s really show our support for these elite cyclists and make the most of this wonderful event.”
Last year’s race attracted 80,000 spectators and brought £1.75m to the county’s economy.
Kasia Niewaidoma won last year’s Northamptonshire stage.
In total 17 teams will compete in the 2018 OVO Energy Women’s Tour, including four British squads, Wiggle HIGH5, Trek Drops, WNT Rotor and Storey Racing.
The riders set to compete in the race will be announced during the early summer.
This year’s race will go through:
Stage One: Framlingham to Southwold (June 13, 130km)
Stage Two: Rushden to Daventry (June 14, 145km)
Stage Three: Atherstone to Royal Leamington Spa (June 15, 151km)
Stage Four: Wychavon District to Worcester (June 16, 130km)
Stage Five: Dolgellau to Colwyn Bay (June 17, 122km)