An elite women’s cycling race is coming to Warwickshire this summer for a second year in a row - but this time will finish in Leamington instead of Stratford.
Stage 3 of the Aviva Women’s Tour will head to the county on Friday June 9. Riders will start in Atherstone, the same as last year, and eventually finish in Leamington after 93 miles of pedalling.
Although the exact route details have not been revealed, a basic map of the route suggests the cyclists will pass through parts of Kenilworth, Leek Wootton and Warwick before heading further south.
The riders will then head east and back north to finish in Leamington.
Cllr Philip Johnson, chair of the communities and scrutiny committee said: “I am delighted that the details of the stages for the Women’s Tour have been announced.
“It’s important that we continue to secure events of this calibre into the future to build on last year’s success.”
Around 75,000 spectators turned out in force last year to cheer on the riders along the route, despite the torrential rain that fell throughout the morning.
The riders battled hard with each other and against the adverse conditions during a sprint stage down Warwick Road in Kenilworth, where extra points were on offer for the cyclist who crossed the line first.
And later in the stage as the weather improved, the riders powered past Warwick’s historic buildings before heading into the hilly Cotswolds. The stage then finished in Stratford.
Warwickshire County Council’s leader Cllr Izzi Seccombe was very pleased the race was heading back to the county, as it would give another boost to businesses.
She said: “Playing host to Stage 2 of this high profile cycling tour last year offered a chance to showcase our county at its best.
“The huge numbers of visitors meant that many local businesses were able to benefit from the boost it gave to the region and we are looking forward already to the race returning to Warwickshire.”
Race director Mick Bennett said the race was coming back to Warwickshire this year because crowds ‘embraced’ the tour in 2016.
The Women’s Tour is a five-stage race, all completed within five days. All the world’s best cycle teams are set to enter, and last year’s champion Lizzie Deignan is expected to defend her title.
Gold medallist in the team pursuit at the Rio Olympics Katie Archibald will also be entering, and said she was ‘excited but nervous’ to take part due to the competitive nature of the event.
The race will begin in Northamptonshire on Wednesday June 7, with the riders cycling between Daventry and Kettering.
Stage 2 sees the riders head to Staffordshire and the city of Stoke-on-Trent prior to the racers coming to Warwickshire a day later.
The fourth stage will be in Chesterfield and Derbyshire, and the final stage will take place in London on Sunday June 11 using the same route as the men’s Tour of Britain.