With less than 40 days to go until the world’s top cyclists get the OVO Energy Women’s Tour underway in Suffolk, the locations for the two intermediate Eisberg Sprints for the opening stage on Wednesday 13 June have been announced.
Sponsored the second year running by Eisberg, riders will contest two hot spot sprints on the High Street in Needham Market and outside Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham during the 129km opening stage.
Belgian rider Jolien D’hoore won the final stage of the 2017 race wearing the Eisberg Sprints jersey, and is eagerly anticipating being back at the race where she has won twice. She said: “I’m really looking forward to riding the OVO Energy Women’s Tour, because every time we come to the race there are amazing crowds and I love to be cheered on."
Among the teams racing will be the Storey Racing team of Dame Sarah Storey, who looking ahead to the race commented, “With just 40 days to go it is great to see Suffolk setting the OVO Energy Women’s Tour off again. I’m excited to see our team lining up for the event and know the route will be lined with incredible local support.”
Riders will contest the first sprint in Needham Market at around midday, after 48 kilometres of racing, before the second as the race returns to Framlingham after 79 kilometres of racing at around 12:49pm.
The first three riders across the line at each Eisberg Sprint will earn points on a three-two-one basis towards the Eisberg Sprints jersey, with Suffolk’s two sprints deciding who will wear the red jersey after the opening day of racing.
In a joint statement, Cllr TJ Haworth-Culf, Suffolk Coastal District Council’s Cabinet Member for Customers, Communities and Leisure, and Cllr Michael Ladd, Waveney District Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Tourism said: “With just 40 days to go, there is a definite sense of excitement about the OVO Energy Women’s Tour coming to east Suffolk and we are pleased to see local communities, businesses and schools showing their support for this prestigious event.”
Preparations for the Suffolk stage of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour are gearing up, with the leg finishing in Southwold, home to race sponsors Adnams. The town will also host the official sportive, or mass participation ride, of the Women’s Tour on Sunday 1 July, giving members of the public the chance to sample some of the route themselves.
Sarah Fisk, Corporate Relations Manager for Adnams said; “We’re excited to see the Women’s Tour and Tour Ride come to Southwold this year, offering something for riders of all abilities and spectators alike. We hope these events will showcase Suffolk and what the region has to offer, including the numerous cycling friendly pubs and hotels.”
Councillor Tony Goldson, Cabinet Member for Health at Suffolk County Council said: “The OVO Energy Women’s Tour provides a wonderful opportunity for communities, towns and villages to engage with this sporting spectacle as it passes through our fantastic county with the sprint locations adding that little bit more excitement for the crowds. Evidence from past events has shown us that people are inspired to get active and think about cycling as a direct result of watching the race, which all helps to achieve our ambition to become the most active county in England.”
Seventeen days on from the opening stage of the race, the OVO Energy Tour Ride supporting Breast Cancer Care sportive will take place on Sunday 1 July. Riders can choose from a 30-mile Challenge route or 80-mile Pro route, each featuring the same roads as used by the professionals in Stage One.
For more information and to enter, raising funds and awareness for Breast Cancer Care, please visit www.tourride.co.uk
In total 17 teams will compete in the 2018 OVO Energy Women’s Tour, including four British squads: Wiggle HIGH5, Storey Racing, Trek-Drops and WNT-Rotor. The list of riders set to take part in the race will be announced shortly before the event.
A one-hour highlights programme of every stage will be broadcast daily on ITV4 and available on demand via the ITV Hub. The OVO Energy Women’s Tour is a part of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, comprising 23 events around the world in 10 different countries.