Tour of Britain organisers SweetSpot last night revealed that they are planning to put on a five-stage women’s race that aims to showcase some of Britain’s top talent and that they hope will attract some of the sport’s top international teams, who they say have been very supportive of the proposals.
The proposals, still at the early planning stage, were revealed at the launch in London’s Covent Garden of this year’s Tour of Britain, with the first edition of the women’s race hopefully being held next year.
Initially, it is planned to confine the race to a specific region, although hopes are that ultimately the race could be expanded to become a nationwide event.
Guy Elliott of SweetSpot said: "We owe it to the likes of Lizzie Armitstead, Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell, Lucy Garner, Dani King, Elinor Barker and all our other world-class riders to provide a British-based international-class stage race.
"The response from the riders, teams and sponsors has been absolutely phenomenal,” he went on.
“We are in the early stages of talking with all he authorities but with the help and support of the British cycling public this will happen and it will be a race to be proud of."
Britain has an established multi-stage women’s race already in the shape of the Two Days of Bedford, which last year saw a team time trial and 80-kilometre road race on the Saturday followed by an individual time trial and 85-kilometre road stage on the Sunday, with Ciara Horne winning the overall. Previous winners include Helen Wyman.
With an extra day added, this year’s event, now the Three Days of Bedford, begins on Saturday 4 May with a new 55-kilometre road stage, with the following two days repeating last year’s format.
The race being planned by SweetSpot is on an altogether bigger scale, however, including aiming to attract the sport’s top teams who will no doubt welcome another major race given the uncertainty surrounding the Giro Donne, which goes ahead this year after being rescued again, while another big race, the Tour de l’Aude in France, has now disappeared from the calendar.
Mick Bennett, race director of the Tour of Britain, said: "It seems an obvious and logical step forward given the strength of women's cycling in this country and the enthusiasm for the sport generally," says Mick Bennett, the race director of the Tour of Britain.
"It's commonly accepted that women's road racing, for some reason, does not get the profile and publicity it deserves which is a shame because the Olympic road race showed yet again how good it can be with Lizzie Armitstead taking on Marianne Vos.
"Just four years before that Nicole Cooke claimed exhilarating wins in the Olympic and world road races. It's a great sport and all that is needed is more opportunity for the women to race.
"We have spoke to most of the women and their teams and they are very enthusiastic and with the excellent links we have forged with local county and borough councils and the police we believe we are in a position to stage a five-day race to showcase the women's sport."
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.