Women’s Tour launches in Daventry

Simon Bovey, Matthew Golby, Alan Hills and Alice Barnes

Simon Bovey, Matthew Golby, Alan Hills and Alice Barnes

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The Women’s Tour was officially launched on Monday as Daventry prepares to play host as the event’s starting line.

The Grand Depart will take place on Wednesday, June 7, and is set to boost not only the local economy but also participation in cycling in Northamptonshire and in the rest of the country.

Speaking at the launch was Peter Hodges, the tour’s PR director, who talked of the wider impact the event will have.

He said: “There’s obviously a strong healthy living and sporting agenda around the Women’s Tour.

“It’s not just about elite sport, it’s getting people into sport, especially women and young women, persuading them that they don’t have to give up sport.

“It’s not unglamorous, they too can be someone like Alice or Hannah Barnes, and a superstar.”

Alice Barnes, the Northamptonshire-based cyclist, will take her position on the start line at the tour’s Grand Depart.

She could hold an advantage over her rivals considering her familiarity with the roads of the first stage, but above all she is excited at the prospect of racing in her home county.

She said: “To be racing on home roads is pretty special, we don’t get to race in Britain very much, let alone the county I grew up riding around.

“The Women’s Tour is massive so to have it in the calendar as a Women’s World Tour race and be able to ride it in my home county is all very special.”

The tour has steadily grown since it began in 2014 and is now part of the UCI Women’s World Tour, which has heightened its status as a global event.

Last year the tour generated £1.6m in revenue for the Northamptonshire economy and it was watched by a record 80,000 people.

Alan Hills, Daventry District Council’s community, culture and leisure portfolio holder, hopes the race will once again bring numerous benefits to the area.

He said: “It’s a prestigious event, a global event, and I’m very pleased we managed to negotiate and get it here in Daventry. It certainly puts Daventry on the map once again.

“It’s something that I think, not only from a spectator’s point of view, but from a business point of view, creates opportunities.

“I hope that the businesses in the district will take the full opportunity to get the benefit from it.”