Northamptonshire's Hannah Barnes among the star names on OVO Energy Women's Tour rider list
Fans can look forward to watching the world's top women cyclists next week, after the full 102-rider provisional start list for the OVO Energy Women's Tour was announced this afternoon
The race will feature nine of the world’s top ten ranked riders, including defending Women’s Tour champion Lizzie Deignan and her Boels Dolmans teammate Anna van der Breggen, the current leader of the UCI Women’s World Tour.
All three previous Women’s Tour winners are on the list, with 2015 victor Lisa Brennauer (Canyon//SRAM) and 2014 champion Marianne Vos (WM3 Pro Cycling) joining last year’s winner Deignan.
Also racing for Canyon//SRAM will be Northamptonshire’s own Hannah Barnes, the current British champion.
She said: “I am really looking forward to racing on home roads and seeing familiar faces.
“It’s special to have the support, especially from family and friends that don’t get to see me race very often and see for themselves the excitement around the racing. This is a great race on the calendar to be at.”
Cervélo Bigla Pro Cycling include 2016 runner up Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, the current leading young rider in the UCI Women’s World Tour.
Eight of the field have Olympic medals to their name, including 2016 gold medallists Katie Archibald (Team WNT) and van der Breggen, and bronze medallists from Rio de Janeiro Elisa Longo Borghini and Jolien D’hoore (Wiggle HIGH5).
“I’m very excited for the Women’s Tour. It’s one of the most important stage races on our calendar,” said Borghini.
“It’s a hard stage because in this tour all the stages are challenging and full of points where you can attack and surprise the opponents.”
She added: “Lizzie Deignan will be the one to beat. We are racing on her homesoil and she will be well prepared for this event.”
Five of the field are former World Road Race champions, while ten current National Road Race champions will be on the start line in Daventry on June 7, including Barnes (Canyon//SRAM) and Irish champion Lydia Boylan (Team WNT).
“This is an incredible line-up of the very best athletes in the world,” said race director Mick Bennett. “The line-up for the OVO Energy Women’s Tour is exceptional and fans can now look forward to watching five days of action-packed, exciting racing as these riders battle for the OVO Energy Green Jersey.
“With such a depth of field of high-quality riders, it is very hard to predict a likely winner.
“In addition to our three former champions we have eight stage winners from previous editions of the race, so it really will go down to the wire with our final stage at the heart of London on the June 11.”
A full list of the riders can be found here.