Published: 10 October 2013
Image: Alex Whitehead/swpix.com
The Women’s Tour has been awarded the top status possible by cycling’s governing body, the UCI, for its 2014 launch.
The event has been given a 2.1 classification, the highest level of category awarded to any international women's event.
The inaugural edition begins on Wednesday 7 May next year with the Grand Depart in Northamptonshire and concludes on Sunday 11 May. The location of the other four stages has yet to be revealed.
“The Women’s Tour will be a fantastic addition to the British racing calendar next year," said British Cycling’s Director of Cyclesport Jonny Clay.
"We worked with SweetSpot to identify the best calendar slot and lobbied the UCI for the highest category a start up event could attain. The fact that the event has been granted 2.1 status, putting it in the top echelon of races, is welcome news.
“More event organisers providing more opportunities, paired with more women committing to race in these events and broaden the competitive field, will go a long way to helping British Cycling achieve its ambition of getting one million more women on bikes by 2020.”
Guy Elliott, director of event organiser SweetSpot, commented: "We are absolutely delighted that the UCI have awarded us 2.1 status for this exciting new event.
"Our first stage, including the Grand Depart, will be based entirely in Northamptonshire, which is a fantastic county for racing and will the first time that Northamptonshire has hosted a major Tour.
“The stage will be a challenging test for all riders on a beautiful and challenging route of opening day of the race, with plans to pass through many of the county's towns and villages.
"We are particularly pleased about Northamptonshire's plans to use the event to promote women's sport in its widest context to young people.”
Last July, it was announced SweetSpot would continue in its role as delivery partner for the Tour of Britain after being awarded a new five-year deal with British Cycling, to start in 2014.