The Women’s Tour of Britain will break new ground once again in 2021 when Warwickshire hosts the first individual time trial stage in race history this October.
Atherstone will host the time trial’s start and finish on day three of this year’s race (Wednesday 6 October), marking a record fourth time that the Women’s Tour will have visited the North Warwickshire market town.
This stage is set to be the first individual time trial held after the UCI World Championships in Flanders, Belgium, meaning British fans could get to see the newly-crowned world champion tackle the route – 16 kilometres/10 miles in recognition of the UK’s rich time trial heritage – in the legendary rainbow jersey.
Warwickshire previously made Women’s Tour of Britain history when it hosted the race’s first uphill finish – held at Burton Dassett Country Park and won by Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon SRAM) – in 2019.
Annemiek van Vleuten, Movistar Team rider and two-time world time trial champion, said: “This news makes me really happy! Time trialling is an important part of cycling – it is a Olympic discipline – but we don’t have many opportunities to ride them, so I’m really excited that the Women’s Tour has added one! This type of stage is good for me – but it’s also good for the future of cycling: younger athletes can learn so much by doing them.
“The Women’s Tour is such a great event – I still get goosebumps when I think about how many schoolchildren line the side of the roads. I hope that this is the case once again in October!”
Councillor Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “Warwickshire County Council is committed to cycling which it has shown in recent years with its support for the Women’s Tour and the Tour of Britain. Both events have always had a very positive impact on the local economy with the many visitors they bring to Warwickshire.
“We hope that we will be in a position to enjoy similar numbers this year. But regardless of any restrictions on travel or size of gatherings, the county remains a staunch supporter of both cycling and promoting women in sport, in particular encouraging more young girls to participate in sport. We will continue to promote cycling at every opportunity as a healthy pursuit and an environmentally-friendly form of travel.”
Councillor David Wright, Leader of North Warwickshire Borough Council, said: “We are delighted to welcome the Women’s Tour back to North Warwickshire and we are particularly pleased that Atherstone has been selected to host the first-ever Women’s Tour time trial. We will need to review the health guidelines at the time of the event but hope we will be able to generate the warm welcome that we have on previous occasions. The events create great excitement in North Warwickshire and will provide a fantastic boost to the local area as we seek to recover from the effects of the COVID outbreak.”
Elsewhere, further details of the Women’s Tour’s Grand Départ in Oxfordshire have also been released. Bicester and Banbury will welcome the world’s best riders on Monday 4 October, with stage one of this year’s race taking place 842 days on from the finish of the 2019 Women’s Tour, the last edition to take place to date owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the Women’s Tour back to Oxfordshire, inspiring more people to get their bikes out of the shed. Over the last year, we have seen more and more residents cycling. We hope by welcoming back the race, even more people will take to two-wheels, the healthy transport option. The benefits of cycling for personal health cannot be overstated, along with reducing congestion on our roads. Oxfordshire is the perfect backdrop for this race, and we look forward to showing off the county at its best.”
Councillor Barry Wood, Leader of Cherwell District Council, said: “Having the start and finish of the first leg of the Women’s Tour in Cherwell is a real honour. It’s the perfect opportunity to showcase what our wonderful district has to offer and we look forward to welcoming the riders, teams and fans for the race this autumn.”
The 2021 Women’s Tour will also visit Walsall for the first time on stage two (Tuesday 5 October), as the Black Country town becomes only the third venue – after Stoke-on-Trent and Chesterfield in 2017 – to host the start and finish of a road stage on the same day.
The race will culminate with two previously-announced stages in the East of England: Colchester to Clacton (stage five, Friday 8 October) and Haverhill to Felixstowe in Suffolk (stage six, Saturday 9 October).
Organisers and British Cycling intend that each stage of the Women’s Tour will also be used to celebrate Britain’s key workers and community heroes. Each day will play host to a special ride giving us a chance to say Thank You and show our appreciation to our community heroes, offering them an unforgettable experience to ride ahead of the professionals at the race.