This is the second year that Oxfordshire is hosting the Women’s Tour. The District Councils, Oxford City and the County Council are partnering in conjunction with the Sweet-Spot Race Organisers to produce the race in a three-year agreement that started in 2019.
Oxfordshire pro-cyclist Katie Scott joined community cycling groups and students from both Bicester’s Longfields Primary School and Cooper School at the official announcement in Garth Park City on Thursday, February 13.
Katie, 18, is a CAMS-Tifosi team rider from Faringdon; she is expected to be one of about 100 women taking part in a gruelling six-stage tour later this summer.
Ian Hudspeth, leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the Women’s Tour back to Oxfordshire, inspiring more people to get their bikes out of the shed.
“The benefits of cycling for personal health cannot be over stated, along with reducing congestion on our roads. Oxfordshire is the perfect backdrop for this race and we look forward to showing off the county at its best.”
Each year numerous routes are designed to highlight the uniqueness of the county to a national and international audience. The tour last year tackled Edge Hill and Avon Dassett’s gruelling hill climbs.
The county will host the prestigious opening stage this year with Bicester having the honour of starting the race.
Cycling fans are expected to visit Oxfordshire to watch the event, generating further business along the way for restaurants, bars, hotels, B&Bs and shops.
About 100 skilled riders will thread their way through cities, villages and rural areas upon leaving Bicester, encouraging local schools to plan sport and wellness lessons on the theme.
Last year’s race for Oxfordshire has already built a positive environmental legacy. The County Council has been partnering with Healthy Oxfordshire, TRAX, British Cycling and Thames Valley Police to rehabilitate’ waste’ cycles for young people overcoming cycling obstacles.
Ten women from Oxfordshire received training from British Cycling Breeze Champion in October, giving them the skills and knowledge to lead social bike rides in their communities. This was funded by County Council of Oxfordshire, Public Health and Healthy Oxfordshire.
Mick Bennett, who is the director of Women’s Tour Race, has said: “Oxfordshire is a historic and world-famous county; therefore, I am delighted that the Tour is returning for a second year.
“I’m confident we’ll leave our world-class field with a truly unforgettable memory of the county’s beauty and diversity, helping to reinforce the prestige of the event.”
Guided rides for women will take place in the lead until this year’s Tour.