Wednesday 7th May 2014 will mark the beginning of the first ever UCI International stage race for women in the UK.

The Friend’s Life Women’s Tour kicks off next week, with 5 days of racing, covering just under 500km’s of UK roads.

The five stages will take place in the East Midlands and East Anglia, taking in Northamptonshire, Leicsestershire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex and Suffolk.

Ranked by the UCI as a 2.1 stage race, this series is equivalent in weighting to the Tour of Britain, making it an exciting event for competitors and spectators.

Here’s a promotional film which communicates the excitement brewing within the pro women’s peloton: 

“It’s probably going to be the biggest tour in the UCI calendar for women..”

“Everybody’s talking about it…”

“It’s a real opportunity to make histroy…”

 

Riders to watch

 

The first international women’s stage race to take place in the UK, the series has attracted some of the fastest women in international cycling. Here are some of the riders to watch out for:

Marianna Vos, Rabo Liv Women’s Cycling Team

Image: www.tacx.com

Image: www.tacx.com

Vos hardly needs in introduction.

Reining World and Olympic champion,  Vos won the 2012 Olympic road race in a spring against Lizzie Armitstead, she is the 2013 UCI Women’s Road World Cup Champion, the 2014 UCI Cyclocross World Champion, and the 2013 Tour of Flanders winner – she is one of the greatest female riders in history, and guaranteed to play a key part in this tour.

Giorgia Bronzini, Team Wiggle-Honda

Image: www.thegirlsguidetolifeontwowheels.blogspot.co.uk/

Image: www.thegirlsguidetolifeontwowheels.blogspot.co.uk/

An impressive line up of decorated athletes, Wiggle-Honda features the three British Olympic champions, Laura Trott, Jo Rowsell and Dani King, alongside double World track champ Elinor Barker, and the Italian double World road race champ, Giorgia Bronzini. Giorgia took 17 of Wiggle-Honda’s 22 victories last year, so she’ll be a key component, or leader, in their team.

Lizzie Armitstead, Boels Dolmans

Image: Skysports.com

Image: Skysports.com

Second only to Vos in the Olympic road race of 2012, Lizzie has had an impressive 2014 so far, taking second in the Tour of Flanders and the La Fleche Wollone Femmes, as well as first in  the Ronde van Drenthe World Cup. Lizzie is currently the leader of the UCI Women’s Road World Cup.

Hannah Barnes, United Healthcare Professional Cycling Team

Image: @bannahharnes

Image: @bannahharnes

Barnes dominated the 2013 British road and crit racing scene, and hit the world scene this year. Having beaten Laura Trott to first place at the IG London Nocturne races in Smithfield Market, and taken 1st overall at the ohnsons Healthtech Tour Series, she’s an impressive rider with a mean sprint up her sleeve.

Where to watch?

 

The Women’s Tour stages will take place over 5 days, starting and ending at the locations below:

Wednesday 7th May> Stage 1: Oundle to Northampton

Thursday 8th May> Stage 2: Hinckley to Bedford

Friday 9th May > Stage 3: Felixstowe to Clacton-on-Sea

Saturday 10th May > Stage 4: Cheshunt to Welwyn Garden City

Sunday 11th May > Stage 5: Harwich to Bury St Edmunds

You can see the routes mapped out below, and plan your position if you’re able to get to the roadside:

womenstour_2014_map

 

On TV

If you can’t make it to see a stage, you can also catch the Women’s Tour Highlights at 9pm each evening, on ITV4.

To find out more about the Tour, check out : www.womenstour.co.uk