The women’s tour cycling event was officially launched in Northampton today.
The elite five-stage international event will see some of the world’s best women cyclists competing on the county’s roads.
Beginning in May, the first stage will start in Oundle and finish in Northampton.
Eleven of the world’s top 14 professional women’s teams will be taking part in the inaugural event.
Joining the already-confirmed Marianne Vos and her Rabo Liv team will be the likes of Orica–AIS, Boels Dolmans, Specialized Lululemon and the Wiggle Honda team, featuring British Olympians Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell and Dani King.
Alongside them will be the national side of the world’s number one ranked nation, the Netherlands, plus a Great Britain national team led by Leicestershire’s Lucy Garner.
British domestic team, Matrix Fitness–Vulpine, also earned an invite for the first UCI level stage race for women to take place in the UK, organised by SweetSpot Group, while UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling’s participation will mean Hannah Barnes will be racing in her home county of Northamptonshire on the opening day of The Women’s Tour.
The Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies team will also travel from the USA to race, with the final two outfits for the 16-team, 96-rider field due to be announced in due course.
Guy Elliott, from organisers SweetSpot Group, said: “We are thrilled to be able to bring such a world-class field of teams to ride in the first ever Women’s Tour.
“The race has attracted a wonderful field of elite riders from all over the world, which will be one of the strongest fields ever assembled for an elite women’s international race, and a route which will feature some of the most beautiful roads, villages, towns and countryside in Great Britain.”
The current line-up includes teams from eight different nations, with the race expected to draw a high quality field featuring the best riders from each of the named teams, with further rider announcements and the identities of the final two international teams to follow shortly, pending visa confirmations.
The full list of teams for The Women’s Tour is as follows:
Astana Bepink Women’s Team (Ita)
Boels Dolmans Cycling Team (Ned)
Estado de Mexico Faren (Mex)
Great Britain (GB)
Hitec Products (Nor)
Lotto Belisol Ladies (Bel)
Matrix Fitness – Vulpine (GB)
Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Strategies (USA)
Orica – AIS (Aus)
Rabo Liv Women’s Cycling Team (Ned)
Specialized – Lululemon (USA)
UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team (USA)
Wiggle Honda (GB)