The fifth edition of the Women’s Tour returns to British roads from Wednesday 13 June to Sunday 17 June when the best women’s cycling teams and riders in the world will compete over five stages.
Ones to watch
Dani Rowe will be closely watched by her competitors after a fantastic start to the season, finishing second in this year’s Tour de Yorkshire and third at the 2018 Commonwealth Games road race on the Gold Coast.
Riding for WaowDeals Pro Cycling, Rowe will be joined on the start line by team mate and three-time world champion Marianne Vos, who had to abandon the tour last year after breaking her clavicle on stage three.
Barnes sisters Hannah and Alice, who finished third and sixth respectively in the overall general classification last year, return and will ride for the team Canyon SRAM Racing.
Great Britain Cycling Team rider Neah Evans will be in action riding for the Storey Racing team and will be confident of her chance after an impressive performance to win the recent women’s CiCLE Classic in Melton Mowbray.
2016 Women’s Tour and 2017 Tour de Yorkshire winner, Lizzie Diegnan will miss this year’s OVO Energy Women’s Tour, as she expects her first child in September.
Wednesday 13 June
Stage one: Framlingham to Southwold - 130km
For the third time in race history, Suffolk will host the opening stage of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour.
After a year’s absence from the event, the East Anglian county will welcome the world’s best riders for a flat 130-kilometre leg between Framlingham and Southwold.
With Southwold having hosted the grand départ in 2016, the locals will now have the experience of what is set to be an exciting sprint finish down the coastal front of the seaside town.
Thursday 14 June
Stage two: Rushden to Daventry - 145 km
A year after hosting the grand départ, Daventry welcomes the Women’s Tour once again on day two of the 2018 race.
Daventry, the starting point of the 2017 edition, will host the finish this time around. Riders will pass through the historic market town twice during this stage as part of a challenging finishing circuit that will also see the peloton tackle the notoriously steep Newnham Hill on two occasions.
This stage will be a chance for the climbers to gain important SKODA Queen of the Mountains points, and potentially a stage win if they are the first over Newnham Hill second time round, being just 2km from the finish line, and offering a fast descent into Daventry.
Friday 15 June
Stage three: Atherstone to Royal Leamington Spa - 151 km
The 151-kilometre leg from Atherstone to Royal Leamington Spa will be longest of the entire tour, although the distance did little to deter attacks in 2017.
Only half the field made it to Royal Leamington Spa in the same time as winner Chloe Hosking did last year on the same route, including a flat final 3km for a sprint finish, making this a crucial stage in the fight for the OVO Energy Green Jersey and the Breast Cancer Care Points Jersey.
Saturday 16 June
Stage four: Evesham to Worcester - 130km
Stage four is dedicated to former national road race and time-trial champion Sharon Laws, who tragically passed away after a battle with cancer in December last year.
A picturesque route around the Cotswolds will be the setting to a fitting tribute on roads that would have been familiar with former queen of the mountains Laws, who lived locally.
She lit up the first two editions of the race and returned in 2017 to add her expert analysis to the ITV4 commentary, leaving a lasting impression on the event.
Sunday 17 June
Stage five: Dolgellau to Colwyn Bay - 122km
The Women’s Tour will cover new ground in 2018, as the race visits Wales for the first time in its history. Dolgellau will host the start of stage five, a potentially decisive day in the battle for the green jersey, one that finishes in Colwyn Bay 122 kilometres later.
Category-1 climb Nant Gwyant, at 6.9km long and an average gradient of 4.4% along with the Category-2 climb of Bwlch-y-maen will play a big part for any rider wanting to grab last minute points in the queen of the mountains competition.
OVO Energy Green Jersey
Awarded to the rider leading The Women’s Tour overall, the OVO Energy Green Jersey is worn by the rider who leads the race overall in the general classification.
Breast Cancer Care Points Jersey (Pink)
Awarded to the race’s best sprinter, the Breast Cancer Care Points Jersey is The Women’s Tour’s equivalent of the Tour de France’s green jersey.
Riders will battle for bonus points at the stage finish each day. The first 15 riders across the finish line are awarded points on a 15 down to one.
SKODA Queen of the Mountains Jersey (Black)
Awarded to the best climber in The Women’s Tour, riders battle for points at two designated SKODA Queen of the Mountains climbs on each stage of the race.
Each stage will feature two designated climbs with the first six riders across the summit winning points, from six to one.
Adnams Best British Rider Jersey (Blue)
The Adnams Best British Rider Jersey will be awarded to the leading British rider on general classification following each day’s stage.
Eisberg Sprints Jersey (Red)
Each stage of the Women’s Tour features two intermediate sprints, where points are awarded towards the Eisberg Sprints Jersey.
As well as claiming points, bonus seconds to be taken off their overall race time.
- Highlights of every stage of the race 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.
- Like all major cycling stage races, you can watch live from the roadside for free. Check out the detailed route and schedule on the OVO Energy Women’s Tour website to find out when the race will be passing you.
- Follow @BritishCycling and @thewomenstour on Twitter for race updates.
- A full report and images each day on the British Cycling website.