The home town of double Olympic and world champion Laura Trott will host the start of a stage of next May’s inaugural Women’s Tour following confirmation that Hertfordshire and Essex will welcome stages 3 and 4 of the race, respectively.
Stage 3 of the race, which has UCI 2.1 status and is expected to attract the world’s top female riders, will be held around Clacton-on-Sea in Essex on Friday 9 May, while the following day’s fourth and penultimate stage runs from Hertford to Welwyn Garden City.
Reacting to the news, Olympic Omnium and team pursuit gold medallist Trott, who rides on the road for Wiggle Honda, said: "Having a UCI Women's Tour in the UK is brilliant, but to have a stage starting in my home town of Cheshunt and then finishing in Welwyn Garden City where I started racing makes it even better.
“I think this will be a very special day for me, I just hope the other girls let me win!”
Paul Mason, leader of Broxbourne Council which is based in Cheshunt, commented: “We're excited for The Women's Tour to be passing through the Borough.
“I hope people will come out to support the cyclists and that the event will inspire our local residents to get out and about on their bikes.”
Stage 3 will be hosted within the Tendring District Council area, which has its offices in Clacton-on-Sea, and council leader Peter Halliday said: "We have been in talks with the organisers for some time now and we were hoping that we would see the Tour come to our District – and now those talks have paid dividends in a huge way.
"We are honoured to be involved and look forward to welcoming all the competitors and spectators who will descend on Tendring. It will be fantastic for our residents to see the Tour up close and a major boost for the District and its economy.”
Guy Elliott from organisers SweetSpot Group added: "We are very pleased to be able to announce the locations for Stages 3 and 4 of The Women's Tour and are delighted by the support we have received from stakeholders in both Essex and Hertfordshire.
"We are now working hard to secure the commercial sponsorship required for the event, which will be a fantastic marketing opportunity for brands who want to associate themselves with world-class athletes and our Olympic heroines.”
Just one stage remains to be announced, the final day on Sunday 11 May.
Last month, SweetSpot confirmed that Oundle in Northamptonshire would host the start of Stage 1 on Wednesday 7 May, with the finish in Northampton. The following day’s Stage 2 starts in Hinckley in Leicestershire and finishes in Bedford, heading through Northamptonshire in between.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.