The Aviva Women’s Tour is a British stage race from 15-19 June which has become an exciting new edition to the new-look UCI Women’s WorldTour in 2016.
The road race, which will mark its third anniversary this year, will take place over five stages in the heart (and hills) of England and is being hailed as the toughest edition yet.
Ones to watch
World champion Lizzie Armitstead will return with her team, Boels Dolmans, without their USA road champion Megan Guarnier but bolstered by their team victory in last year’s race.
Armitstead currently sits third on the WorldTour but will set her sights on victory on the familiar British roads as she prepares for the Rio Olympic Games, after finishing 26th in the Tour de Yorkshire earlier this year.
Emma Pooley will return to race for the Great Britain Cycling Team, two years after her retirement from road racing.
Now a two-time world long-distance duathlon champion, Pooley will be joined by a quintet of young British riders, including Annasley Park, the current leader of the Matrix Fitness Grand Prix Series.
Reigning Olympic road race champion Marianne Vos will return to Britain with her team Rabo-Liv after an injury plagued two years.
The Dutch cyclist is making a comeback ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio, where she will be looking to retain the title she won in London.
Last year’s Tour winner, Lisa Brennauer, starts the five-day ride hoping to reproduce the form that saw her take a stage win and the Chain Reaction Points race jersey.
The multiple world champion has ridden in both previous editions of the Tour and won a podium finish in the Energiewacht Tour in Holland, winning the points classification.
The German leader of the CANYON//SRAM Racing team will be a force to be reckoned with in the race she considers one of the biggest events in women’s cycling.
Brennauer’s teammate Hannah Barnes won both the Best British and and Best Young Rider jerseys in the 2015.
The 23-year-old will finish the fifth and final stage in her home county of Northamptonshire, so the crowds are sure to be out in numbers to cheer her on.
Stage 1 - Southwold to Norwich
A reasonably flat stage, which will see the riders compete over 32km from Suffolk to one of five new counties involved in the Tour this year, Norfolk.
The route heads inland from seaside town Southwold before looping back to take in the sights of Lowestoft and turning Northwards to the city of Norwich.
With two sprints and two Queen of the Mountains sections en route, there will plenty of points on offer on this opening day.
Stage 2 - Atherstone to Statford-upon-Avon
The peloton will head to Warwickshire for the first time in the race’s history on day two.
The 140km route will take the riders past the Meriden National Cycling Memorial and world famous castles; Kenilworth and Warwick.
After a substantial day of climbing, the longest stage of the Tour will finish in Shakespeare’s birthplace, marking the playwright’s 400th anniversary.
Stage 3 - Ashbourne to Chesterfield
A day of climbing in Derbyshire’s Peak District lies in store on the third stage.
Riders will take on 2,000 metres of climbing over just 112km, visiting Buxton and skirting Bakewell before heading for the twisted spire of Chesterfield.
Stage 4 - Nottingham to Stoke-on-Trent
Renowned for its connections with women’s sport, Nottingham will see the start of the fourth day of racing, which will take place over three counties.
Passing the famous breweries of Burton-upon-Trent, the peloton will head into the hills of the Staffordshire Moorlands for over 1,500 metres of climbing.
The race will culminate in the city centre of Stoke-on-Trent, the European City of Sport for 2016.
Stage 5 - Northampton to Kettering
Northamptonshire host the final day, becoming the only county to have hosted a full stage in all three editions of the race
hoever is wearing the yellow jersey at the end of this stage in Kettering will be crowned the champion of what organisers are hoping will be the toughest Aviva Women’s Tour yet.
About the jerseys
Aviva Yellow Jersey
Awarded to the leading rider overall - this is the jersey everyone wants to pull on.
The two previous winners, Lisa Brennauer and Marianne Vos both return in 2016 to compete for the title.
Chain Reaction Cycles Points Jersey
Awarded to the race's best sprinter, the Chain Reaction Cycles Points Jersey is the Aviva Women's Tour's equivalent of the Tour de France's green jersey.
Riders will battle for bonus points at two intermediate sprints during each stage and at the stage finish each day. The first 15 riders across the finish line are awarded points on a 15 down to 1 basis.
Strava Queen of the Mountains Jersey
Awarded to the best climber in the Aviva Women's Tour, riders battle for points at two designated climbs on each stage of the race.
The first six riders across the summit win points, on a 6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.
Best British Rider Jersey
The Best British Rider Jersey will be awarded to the leading British rider on general classification following each day's stage.
The jersey will create a race within the race for the British riders, and will allow spectators to easily pick out the leading British rider in the peloton.
Best Young Rider Jersey
The Best Young Rider Jersey, or white jersey, will be awarded to the leading under-23 rider on general classification following each day's stage.
Last year’s winner was British rider, Hannah Barnes.
How the race works
Each of the teams in the Aviva Women's Tour will pick their six rider line-up from their full-season squad of riders.
Riders will take on designated roles, such as a team leader to aim for a place as high as possible on the general classification, a sprinter to target stage wins, a specialist climber for the hillier stages and several domestiques, riders whose sole aim is to help their team leaders.
In 2016 the Aviva Women's Tour will be part of the UCI's exciting new calendar of races that will make up the brand new UCI Women's WorldTour.
In total there are 17 races that make up the WorldTour taking place over 35-days of racing in nine countries.
How to follow the race
Watch on TV
Highlights of each and every stage of the 2016 Aviva Women's Tour will be shown on ITV4 on the evening of each day's racing with a repeat of the hour-long programme shown the following day.
The full schedule of television coverage can be found below:
Stage 1: Wednesday 15 June - 9pm (repeated the following day at 12:40pm)
Stage 2: Thursday 16 June - 9pm (repeated the following day at 12:35pm)
Stage 3: Friday 17 June - 10:30pm (repeated the following day at 12 noon)
Stage 4: Saturday 18 June - 10:30pm (repeated the following day at 8:55am)
Stage 5: Sunday 19 June - 10:30pm (repeated the following day at 12:40pm)
Follow on the roadside
Like all major cycling stage races, you can watch live from the roadside for free. Check out the detailed route and schedule details at the Tour of Britain website to find out when the race will be passing you.
Follow on British Cycling
- Follow @BritishCycling on Twitter for race updates.
- A full report, results, images and reaction each day on the British Cycling website.