The route for The Women's Tour in 2017 has been unveiled - with a spectacular London circuit stage set for the final day of racing.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan helped Olympic Champion Katie Archibald and Drops Cycling's Abi van Twisk unveil the route for the 2017 race, which takes place from 7 to 11 June.
The fourth edition of the world leading race will also include stages in Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire and Derbyshire, plus a major new charity partnership with Breast Cancer Care to celebrate 25 years of the pink ribbon.
All of the world’s top 15 teams will take part in the race, which is a part of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, including the world’s number one team Boels Dolmans, of defending race champion Lizzie Deignan, and Wiggle HIGH5, ensuring British fans can again look forward to cheering on the world’s best riders. In addition the British-based Drops and WNT teams will complete the 17 team field.
The final stage of The Women’s Tour will take place over 14-laps of the same iconic six kilometre circuit as used by the men’s Tour of Britain, featuring the likes of Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Whitehall on every lap.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “I’m really excited that the most prestigious women’s cycling race in the world is coming to the streets of central London for the first time.
“Londoners will be able to see their Olympic heroes and the world’s top riders competing up close, reviving the excitement we all felt during the Olympics. The race shows our continuing commitment to London hosting the very best sporting events in world.
“One of my key priorities is making cycling safer and easier for Londoners of all backgrounds, and I hope that having the Women’s Tour here will inspire thousands more Londoners to take up cycling as part of their everyday lives.”
The Women’s Tour will begin in Northamptonshire on Wednesday 7 June, with the opening stage between Daventry and Kettering before the second stage includes Staffordshire and the city of Stoke-on-Trent.
Warwickshire will welcome a leg of the race for the second successive year, with Atherstone and Royal Leamington Spa the host venues, before the penultimate stage starts and finishes in Chesterfield, where Lizzie Deignan won Stage Three in 2016, and includes extensive climbing for the riders.
Speaking about the race, Team WNT’s Katie Archibald, who won gold for Great Britain in the team pursuit in Rio de Janeiro said; “The race being hosted by London is a fantastic opportunity for women’s cycling and shows how far the sport has grown over the past couple of years.
“I'm excited but also nervous about the opportunity to ride The Women's Tour since it's one of the most competitive stage races on the women's UCI calendar. Riding for Team WNT I hope to make an impact on the road scene after a change of focus from an enjoyable track season in 2016.”
Commenting on the route, Women’s Tour race director Mick Bennett said;
“Having the Mayor of London invite us to London for the final stage of The Women’s Tour shows the status of the event, that just three years on from its creation it can be a part of the UCI Women’s WorldTour and feature all of the world’s top 15 teams.
"This year’s route will combine testing climbs and beautiful scenery in the heart of England with the London finish, which will be an undoubted highlight of the sporting calendar.
“Counties such as Northamptonshire, Warwickshire and Derbyshire have embraced The Women’s Tour, so this year’s edition will see yet more of the huge roadside crowds cheering on the world’s best.”
A one-hour highlights programme of every stage will be broadcast daily on ITV4 and available on demand via the ITV Hub.