British Cycling has welcomed the addition of several highly-decorated international riders to the line-up for next month’s Women’s Tour, alongside details of a new title sponsor for the inaugural event.
Confirmation of the 10 international teams set to take to the start-line in Oundle, Northamptonshire was made in March, and now organisers have released the names of more top riders who will be competing in the event, which starts 7 May.
Joining reigning world and Olympic champion Marianne Vos, and leading names from the Great Britian Cycling Team such as Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell and Dani King, will be world number one Emma Johansson and current leader of the UCI World Cup and reigning British champion Lizzie Armitstead.
Lining up alongside them will be three further riders from the world’s top 10, Belarussian Alena Amialiuski, double world champion Giorgia Bronzini and Italian Elisa Longo Borghini, plus a further six national champions, Gracie Elvin (Australia), Liesbet De Vocht (Belgium), Joelle Numainville (Canada), Trixi Worrack (Germany), Ashleigh Moolman (South Africa) and Jade Wilcoxson (USA).
The five-stage road race gets underway in Oundle, Northamptonshire and finishes in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, where the first ever winner of the Friends Life Yellow Jersey will be crowned, after it was also announced that the pensions, investments and insurance company has become the event’s new title sponsor.
Welcoming the news, British Cycling’s director of cycle sport and membership, Jonny Clay, said: “It is clear from the line-up of riders that the Women’s Tour will be a fantastic addition to both the international and the UK racing calendar and I am delighted to see that the race’s potential has been recognised with this deal.
“We have made a strong commitment to women’s cycling, and we are very optimistic that the Women’s Tour can have a significant impact on our aims to get one million more women cycling.”
British Cycling has worked closely with the UCI, the international governing body of cycling, to find a suitable slot on the calendar for the new event and ensure that it has received the highest possible status of 2.1. putting it on a par with the Giro Rosa and Ladies Tour of Qatar.
Andy Briggs, group chief executive of Friends Life, was joined by Olympic gold medal winner and triple world champion Dani King and double world junior road race champion Lucy Garner for the announcement.
Andy Briggs said: “We are delighted to be the main sponsor of the first ever Women’s Tour and we are proud to support cycling and women’s sport in general. The Women’s Tour is an ideal partner for Friends Life as we continue to build our brand.”
Commenting on the announcement, Dani King said: “I’m really excited to be a part of the first ever Friends Life Women’s Tour. To have such a big company supporting women’s cycling is huge for our sport, and women’s sport in general.”
Hugh Roberts, chief executive of organisers SweetSpot said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Friends Life for The Women’s Tour this May and we are looking forward to working with them to ensure that women’s cycling gains the platform it deserves and hope this partnership grows ever stronger in the future.”