We are just two weeks away from one of the most exciting events of the pro peloton calendar, the Women's Tour. The OVO Energy Women’s Tour is renowned in the female pro peloton for being a race that attracts incredible crowds and the media attention that is crucial to the progression of the sport.
It seems that the organisers and new title sponsor, OVO Energy, are eager to make their already fantastic race even better, have taken the criticism on board from previous years: longer distances and tougher climbs. Whilst last year's route featured a little more climbing that in previous years, the coming edition is set to include even more of a challenge.
In fact, looking at the figures from the last three routes created by the organisers – it’s clear that the race is getting gradually harder with increasing distances – all over five days of racing a time:
- 2014 – 498.9 kilometres
- 2015 – 596.2 kilometres
- 2016 – 616 kilometres
- 2017 - 654.2 kilometres
So let's take a closer look at what the peleton have in store for this year's Women's Tour...
Stage One: June 7th, 2017
Start: Daventry at 11:00
The opening stage of the 2017 OVO Energy Women’s Tour will see the race return to familiar territory as the peloton reacquaint themselves with the Northamptonshire countryside.
The OVO Energy Women’s Tour is returning to Northamptonshire for the fourth year on the trot, to host the opening stage of this year’s race.
Daventry, a historic market town, will host the start for the first time, and Kettering will welcome the finish, for its third consecutive year.
Stage Two: June 8th, 2017
Start: Stoke-on-Trent at 11:00
It will mark the second occasion that the UK’s biggest professional women’s race has come to the city, following 2016’s visit won by former World and Olympic Champion Marianne Vos, and continues Stoke-on-Trent’s long association with women’s cycling, having hosted elite races as a part of The Tour Series since 2010.
This time around though Stoke-on-Trent will host both the Start and the Finish of the race, with the peloton tackling the tricky terrain of the Staffordshire countryside in between.
Stage Three: June 9th, 2017
Start: Atherstone at 10:00
Finish: Royal Leamington Spa
Stage 3 will begin in Warwickshire as the peloton return to the county after its successful debut in the race in 2016.
This is the second year in a row that Warwickshire County Council has hosted the OVO Energy Women’s Tour. Atherstone will once again welcome the start of the stage, after welcoming the peloton at the start of Stage 2 in 2016.
This time round, the riders will finish in the spectacular town of Royal Leamington Spa, and will be hoping for much better weather than they experienced in Warwickshire last year!
Stage Four: June 10th, 2017
Start: Chesterfield at 13:00
Chesterfield will once again host a finish of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour as Stage 4 returns to Derbyshire in 2017.
Stage 4 of this year’s OVO Energy Women’s Tour will be a loop in and around Chesterfield and Derbyshire as the peloton tackle the Peak District once again with another arduous day of climbing guaranteed, you can be sure that this stage will once again be crucial to who will be crowned the 2017 Champion.
Stage Five: June 11th, 2017
Start: Regent Street, St James - 15:30
Finish: Regent Street, St James
The 2017 OVO Energy Women’s Tour Champion will be crowned on the streets of London, as the UK’s leading women’s cycling race visits the English capital city for the first time.
Starting and finishing from Regent Street St James, just below Piccadilly Circus, riders will contest numerous laps of the circuit to complete the 2017 Women’s Tour.
Passing sites such as Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Whitehall on every lap the circuit is great for spectators looking to see the world’s top riders racing on the streets of London.
ITV will be televising the event with highlights at the end of each stage and an hour long feature to follow the event as it unfolds.
There are just two weeks away until stage one and the anticipation is mounting. For more information about the OVO Energy Women's Tour, head over to their website here. OVO Energy are also sponsoring the Tour of Britain and the Tour Ride later in the year, more information here.