It was a freezing cold start in Otley town centre this morning for the second women’s Tour de Yorkshire, a testing 135.5km road race which was run over an identical course as stage two of the men’s race held on the same day.
Luckily, the weather played ball compared to the snow and rain of the previous day – and the crowds that were packed into the high street were greeted with clear blue skies and cycling celebrities a plenty.
This race was record breaking, with the prize pot totalling an enormous £50,000– bigger than the men’s total prize fund with the winner taking £15,000. Current World Champion and local girl Lizzie Armitstead (racing for Great Britain) was joined by Britain’s most decorated Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey (Podium Ambition); Olympic champion Dani King (Wiggle High5); commonwealth medallist Emma Pooley (Great Britain) alongside several other huge names from the pro peloton. A whole host of British teams lined up including the BC development team Team Breeze, Boot out Breast Cancer, WNT, London based team Les Filles and also the team making a big impression on the circuit this season, Drops RT.
Starting in Armitstead’s home town the crowds lined the streets from 7am, hoping to catch a glance of their local girl. The build up to the day had been incredible, with the press focusing on the relationship between King and Armitstead, with King still hopeful of Rio selection. Having taken a week off the bike following her spring season, Armitstead had already played down her chances of taking the win.