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.
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.