Taking place this weekend across five cities, and many of Scotland's most picturesque towns and villages, the inaugural Women's Tour of Scotland is set to be an outstanding world class permanent UCI calendar professional race fixture. The three day, three stage race will be contested by many of the top women’s teams in the world including a Scotland Team.
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Stage 1 of the Women’s Tour of Scotland kicked off in Dundee and saw heavy wind and rain challenge organisers and riders alike, with biblical conditions testing even the most hardy of Scots. Following a minutes silence to remember Bjorg Lambrecht who died recently in a crash in the Tour of Poland, 16 teams from around the world rolled out with a full convoy of motos and team cars to commence the much anticipated race.
Riders battled the elements for 64km to complete two sprints and a hill climb, before the organisers made the tough but necessary decision to abandon the race with 40km to go. The main issue was large sections of standing water around Leslie and strong gusting winds. The Event Scotland Queen of the Mountains and Motorola Solutions Queen of the Sprints classification leaders were still awarded, with Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Bigla) and Eugenia Bujak (BTC City Ljubljana) taking the respective jerseys.
The Women's Tour of Scotland issued the following statement:
Due to extreme weather conditions we have taken the unfortunate decision together with Police Scotland and the other relevant authorities to abandon today’s stage.
Conditions have proven impossible due to heavy sections of standing water. Rider safety is therefore paramount and conditions were no longer safe to continue.
The winners of today’s Event Scotland Queen of the Mountains and Motorola Solutions Sprints classifications will still be presented in Dunfermline, however the rest of the teams have returned to their accommodation. As it stands, we still plan to commence the start of Stage 2 in Glasgow tomorrow.
We hope for better conditions tomorrow and some brilliant racing. The race rolls out of George Square in Glasgow and the peloton will face the Dukes Pass early on in the stage. It’s an ascent lasting 4km at an average gradient of 6%, with steep sections of up to 15% in the first 2km out of Aberfoyle. This promises to break the race up and will be a great place to specate with epic views.
The Glasgow Go-Ride Coaches will be at George Square running sessions for kids, so get down early with the whole family for an exciting morning of cycling.
The sun was shining on the 87 strong peloton today as Stage 2 of the Women’s Tour of Scotland delivered an incredible day of racing with unparalleled support from communities and local cycling clubs.
The day kicked off with the launch of the Glasgow Women on Wheels Festival which will work with multiple partners to deliver free weekly led rides by experienced and enthusiastic leaders, as well as introductory sessions to track cycling, mountain biking, and BMX. The HSBC UK Glasgow Go Ride coaches were on the ground doing skills sessions with kids while the teams were announced in glorious sunshine at George Square.
The riders rolled out of Glasgow and after 7km of neutral zone the racing began through Milngavie and Strathblane. A break of 5 riders attempted to go clear 17km into the race but they were quickly brought back with many teams showing themselves at the head of the race. Coming into Aberfoyle it was a battle for position as Neah Evans was led out by her Scotland team mates to win the first of the days sprint competitions.The assent of the highly anticipated Dukes Pass followed immediately as riders scrambled to find a gear low gear to grind up the initial section of the climb which has gradients of up to 12%. The incline delivered, splitting the peloton as crowds cheered their support. Young Anna Shackley was the best placed of the Scotland Team riders, reaching the summit with the leaders.
Coming out of Callander the bunch reformed, only for Brodie Chapman (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) to go clear and build a lead of 1 minute 45 second. Utlimately her efforts were in vein as she was caught by a group riders with 5km to go as they headed for an exhilarating finish. Chapman did win the Combativity prize awarded by the judging team.
Alison Jackson (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) went on sprint to victory on the side of the River Tay in Perth. Emma White (Rally UHC Cycling) and Stine Borgli (Norway National Team) took second and third respectively, with White taking the best young rider prize.
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Bigla) held on to the Queen of the Mountains Jersey for a second successive stage after her team’s impressive performance on the climb, while her teammate Leah Thomas tops the Queen of Sprints competition standings.
Scotland Team rider Jen George won the Best Scottish Rider prize, simply saying “now that was a bike race” as she caught her breath at the finish.
The final stage kicks off at 10.30am tomorrow in Edinburgh with activities taking place all morning. The stage will head to the borders where the terrain will thrill and challenge riders.
Find more information on the days activities here
The start of Stage 3 of the Women's Tour of Scotland looked magnificent in the shadow of Arthurs Seat in Hollyrood Park. A group of Breeze riders from across Scotland led out the peloton, bridging the gap between participation and competition and hopefully inspiring many other women to get invoved.
As the elite women departed, the community ride commenced. Round the World record holder Mark Beaumont, television presenter Gail Porter and rugby player Lee Jones joined riders from locals as they rode laps of the park. Next up, the Race the Volcano youth races took over with courageous racing on a tough course from young cyclists.
Meanwhile the peloton headed down to the Borders. The bunch stayed together, quickly closing attacks from Lotto Soudall.
Rally UHC Cycling and Scotland were prominant at the front, keeping things in check. Coming through Peebles the roads were incredibly wet and a brief touch of wheels caused a crashes at the back of the peloton. No riders were seriously injured and the race pushed on to the first sprint at Innerleithen won by Rebecca Durrell of Brother. The second sprint was taken by Ann-Sophie Duyck.
Over the top of the final QOM several riders attacked and built an advantage. it was now downhill all the way to Edinburgh before tackling 3 assents of the climb which reaches 18% at one point.
As the bunch hurtled towards Edinburgh, Ann-Sophie Duyck of Team Parkhotel Valkenburg was off the front with a good adventage of 1 minute 15 seconds coming into the final circuit which consisted of three laps of Hollyrood Park.
She led over the Sprint but was caught with two laps to go as Bigla took control of at the front of the race. Duyck was awarded the prize for most combatitive rider. In the final sprint through the line Leah Thomas of Team Bigla proved her strength and took the win on the final stage and the overall General Classification at the Women's Tour of Scotland. A dominant showing from Bigla who also take the Best Young Rider and Queen of the Mountains jerseys.
The best Scottish Rider Award went to Anna Shackley who rode exceptionally alongside some of the worlds best female professionals.
She crossed the line 13th in the final stage, having held her own throughout the three days of racing. Anna is also just back from competing at the British National Youth and Junior Track Championships where she took Bronze in the Points and Individual Pursuit. The other Scotland Team riders finished in the bunch after woking arm and animating the race. The crowds loved having riders in Scotland kit within the women's peloton, with enthusiastic cheers and Scotland flags in abundance.
That concludes the inaugural Women’s Tour of Scotland. It has been an incredible three days which saw a high standard of racing from the elite women’s peloton, biblical weather conditions and out of this world support from the scottish cycling community. Scottish Cycling are excited to continue to work alongside the Zeus Events and other partners to grow the event and accelerate the growth of women’s cycling in Scotland.
Remember to Tweet @ScottishCycling #WTOS to share your memories
Can't get enough of major cycling events in Scotland? The Tour of Britain starts on Saturday 7th September with stages in Glasgow and Kelso.
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