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The Women’s Tour returns to Suffolk for eighth race



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One of Britain’s most prestigious cycle road races is back as the Women’s Tour returns to our roads for its eighth edition, starting on June 6.

The biggest field of competitors for the six-stage race since it was launched in 2014 will take part this year, with 108 riders representing 18 teams battling it out to the finish.

Given UCI Women’s World Tour event status with only six other events on the planet, the tour attracts an annual roadside audience of 300,000, as well as more than three million fans through linear and online platforms.

Riders Emma Johansson, Marianne Vos and Rossella Ratto (who finished second, first and third overall) at the end of the 2014 Women’s Tour in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mecha Morton
Riders Emma Johansson, Marianne Vos and Rossella Ratto (who finished second, first and third overall) at the end of the 2014 Women’s Tour in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mecha Morton

Mick Bennett, race director, said: “We are once again thrilled by the line-up of the world’s best teams, alongside two British squads to excite the home crowd, will all be competing in this year’s Women’s Tour.

“We are in for six exciting days of racing across England and Wales, and I know a lot of people are already counting down to Monday, June 6.”

Though the first official Women’s Tour race took place in 2014, its origins go back a little further than that.

The teams that will be competing in the 2022 Women’s Tour. Submitted by SweetSpot Group
The teams that will be competing in the 2022 Women’s Tour. Submitted by SweetSpot Group

The company behind the event, SweetSpot, traces it back to 2010 when it organised its first women’s cycling race, the Horizon Fitness Grand Prix, in Stoke-on-Trent.

Beginning as a supporting event for the men’s tour series – Britain’s leading televised cycle race series – it then grew into the Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series, a year later.

Soon, the series became an established and key part of the women’s racing scene in Britain, thanks to television coverage in the UK and around the world.

At the launch event for the Tour of Britain in March 2013, now chairman of SweetSpot, Hugh Roberts, announced the company was making a standalone stage race for the world’s top female cyclists in Britain – and The Women’s Tour was born.

Jolien D’hoore winning the 157.6km first stage of the 2019 race, which finished in Stowmarket. Picture: Mecha Morton
Jolien D’hoore winning the 157.6km first stage of the 2019 race, which finished in Stowmarket. Picture: Mecha Morton

The final stage of the first ever tour saw Dutch rider Marianne Vos come across the line on Angel Hill, in Bury St Edmunds, first – making her the Women’s Tour overall winner for 2014.

Since then, Suffolk has been used heavily for the event, being the county that has hosted the race more times than any other, with the likes of Southwold, Framlingham, Beccles, Stowmarket, Haverhill and Felixstowe being used

as either stage starts or finish lines as well as Bury.

Suffolk’s participation for the Women’s Tour this year will once again see Angel Hill and the iconic backdrop of the town’s Abbey Gate become a finishing point of a competition stage.

Stage one of the tour, on June 6, will be an 88.2 mile route (142km), starting in Colchester before going through through Bildeston (twice), Capel St Mary, Stowmarket, Needham Market and Lavenham, before ending on Angel Hill.

The stage one route map for the 2022 Women's Tour. Submitted by SweetSpot Group
The stage one route map for the 2022 Women's Tour. Submitted by SweetSpot Group

This will mark the cathedral town’s third appearance in race history, although it will be the first finish there since Marianne Vos won in the 2014 edition.

Councillor Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for public health and public protection, said: “The race always provides a great opportunity for communities to come together and celebrate all that our county has to offer, while inspiring people to become more physically active.”

This year’s race will be the first edition of the Women’s Tour to take place in its traditional June calendar position since 2019, due to the pandemic.

Instead of the usual race format in 2020, the first V-Women’s Tour took place. The three-stage virtual race, in June

that year, saw the world’s best racers tackled routes, including a course based around Bury from the 2014 finale.

Highlights of this year’s race will once again be shown on ITV4 in the UK, and around the world via Eurosport and GCN.

  • Follow the Women’s Tour on Twitter (#WomensTour), Facebook, and Instagram or via the event’s official website at womenstour.co.uk