WORLD champion Lizzie Armitstead will relish the chance to race on Warwickshire’s roads when the Aviva Women’s Tour visits the county for the first time in June.
Armitstead will be among 96 of the world’s top riders competing in the second stage from Atherstone to Stratford on Thursday, June 16.
The 140-kilometre stage will take the cyclists through the heart of the county, passing through the likes of Atherstone, Kenilworth, Warwick, Shipston-on-Stour and Stratford.
Armitstead, of the Boels Dolmans team, said: “It’s fantastic news that the Aviva Women’s Tour will continue in 2016. As a British rider it’s a privilege to be able to compete on home roads, the British public have really taken to cycling and you can see that when the race goes through different towns the community really gets behind it.
“I’m excited to see the growth in women’s cycling and I think the Women’s Tour has had a really positive impact on that change.”
Taking place over five days, the 2016 edition of the race will be a part of the new UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar, currently one of just four multi-day stage races on the season-long programme of races for the world’s top riders and teams
“The stage takes place through some beautiful Warwickshire scenery with several testing climbs in the south of the county in the final third of the stage, before what we hope will be a very popular finish in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon,” said Aviva Women’s Tour race director Mick Bennett.
“Many of the roads used are familiar to me from my training rides when a professional, so we know how good the area is for cycling, while we hope the proximity to the cities of Birmingham and Coventry will bring fans out to the roadside in large numbers.”
Leader of Warwickshire County Council, Coun Isobel Seccombe, said: “We are truly excited to welcome this significant event to our beautiful county.
“We intend to embrace the opportunities the Tour will bring, by showcasing the county as the best place to invest, live, work and visit as well as helping to encourage more women and girls into cycling and sport in general.
“A sporting event of this scale brings with it a number of key benefits, ranging from public health and education to economic growth and tourism, all of which are key priorities for the county.
“More importantly, the Aviva Women’s Tour puts Warwickshire on the international sporting stage and as a place that has the skills, infrastructure and environment to make it a great success.”
The Warwickshire stage comes on day two of the race, which will begin at Southwold on the Suffolk coast with the opening stage finishing in Norwich on Wednesday, June 15.
Subsequent stages will take the race to Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire, before the final day of racing in Northamptonshire, between Northampton and Kettering, on Sunday, June 19.