The full stage routes for this year’s Women’s Tour, scheduled from 4 to 9 October, have been released today.
Oxfordshire will host the Grand Départ with a spectator-friendly stage between Bicester and Banbury. The 147.6 km route covers a large section of the county, heading as far south to Culham and the banks of the River Thames, before visiting Abingdon and Deddington on its journey north towards the finish in Banbury.
Stage two will be a kermesse around Walsall and its surrounding areas.
For the first time ever an individual time trial will be held at the Women’s Tour which will be hosted by the town of Atherton. The out-and-back route will measure 16 km and take the riders through Bentley, Birchley Heath, Mancetter before finishing in the heart of Atherstone
Stage four takes the peloton from Shoeburyness to Southend-on-Sea. On this 117.5 km long course, the riders will have to be alert to crosswinds and changes in direction as the route heads through Rochford, South Woodham Ferrers, Burnham-on-Crouch, before the peloton hits the finish line along the seafront in the Westcliff-on-Sea area of Southend.
Stage five starts at Colchester’s Northern Gateway Sports Park. Riders will complete a lap of the venue’s closed road cycle circuit before heading into Colchester’s historic city centre. Another spectator-friendly stage, the peloton will pass through the finish line on Clacton seafront after just 32 km before completing a 63.5-km loop via Holland-on-Sea, Thorpe-le-Soken and Manningtree.
This year’s Women’s Tour will finish in Suffolk, following a day of racing between Haverhill and Felixstowe on a 155km long course. A scenic route through the county will take the peloton past the Melford Hall stately home and through Sudbury before passing along the runaway at Wattisham Flying Station, and then heading south towards the finish line adjacent to the beach in Felixstowe.