The Women’s Tour

Neutral Service’s Women’s Tour Live News Updates – click here

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07-11.05.2014 Official Site
United Kingdom, UCI 2.1

It’s the biggest, most talked-about event to hit women’s cycling for years, one that most fans thought they’d never see: an international women’s stage race of major importance, taking place right here in Britain – and it’s very nearly upon us.

Make no mistake, this is going to be huge.

Emma Trott of Boels-Dolmans, one of the top cycling teams in the world, told the BBC that she believed it “could be even better” than the women’s road race at the 2012 Olympic Games – a race that proved to be magnitudes more popular than even the most optimistic women’s cycling fan ever hoped. We say it’ll be considered a Grand Tour within five years.

Right from the start, the organising committee declared they’d be offering prizes equal to those awarded to the riders in the men’s Tour of Britain; prize parity between men’s and women’s races still being extremely rare in cycling, which immediately gained the interest of the world’s top riders. Then cycling’s international governing body the UCI gave the race its top 2.1 status, allowing the organisers to invite all the top teams. All fourteen leapt at the chance: Astana-BePink, Boels-Dolmans, Estado de Mexico-Faren, Hitec Products, Lotto-Belisol Ladies, Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Strategies, Orica-AIS, Rabobank-Liv/Giant, Specialized-Lululemon, UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team and Wiggle-Honda will all take part, as will Britain’s best-known domestic team Matrix-Vulpine and national squads from Britain and the Netherlands.

Neutral Service, working in conjunction with Matrix-Vulpine, will be providing regular updates throughout the race both on the competition and the riders, as well as daily reports. We’ll also be running a live news ticker from the 6th (the day before the race) and through to the end – and we’d love to publish any photos you’d like to share on it. Email them to neutralservicecontribs@outlook.com, or contact me on Twitter.

Start List

Please note that the start list is provisional. Bold denotes a British rider.

Astana-BePink Boels-Dolmans Estada de Mexico-Faren Hitec Products
11 Doris Schweizer 21 Lizzie Armitstead 31 Uenia Fernandes da Souza 51 Thea Thorsen
12 Dalia Muccioli 22 Ellen van Dijk 32 Lucy Martin 52 Ashleigh Moolman
13 Silvia Valsecchi 23 Romy Kasper 33 Fabiana Luperini 53 Elisa Longo Borghini
14 Susanna Zorzi 24 Christine Majerus 34 Rossella Ratto 54 Siri Minge*
15 Michela Maltese 25 Emma Trott 35 Erika Yepez 55 Chloe Hosking
16 Alice Maria Arzuffi 26 Katarzyna Pawlowska 36 Elena Cecchini 56 Audrey Cordon

 

Lointek Lotto-Belisol Matrix-Vulpine Optum p/b KBS
61 Aude Biannic 71 Emma Pooley 81 Helen Wyman 101 Lauren Hall
62 Belen Lopez Morales 72 Amy Cure 82 Mel Lowther**** 102 Janel Holcomb
63 Lucia Gonzalez Blanco 73 Isabelle Beckers 83 Harriet Owen 103 Leah Kirchmann
64 Sheyla Gutierrez Ruiz*** 74 Liesbet de Vocht 84 Jessie Walker 104 Joelle Numainville
65 Fanny Riberot 75 Anisha Vekemans 85 Jo Tindley 105 Denise Ramsden
66 Aurore Verhoeven 76 Chantal Hoffmann 86 Penny Rowson 106 Jade Wilcoxson

 

Orica-AIS Rabo-Liv Specialized-Lululemon United Healthcare
111 Emma Johansson 1 Marianne Vos 121 Chantal Blaak 141 Hannah Barnes
112 Loes Gunnewijk 2 Annemiek van Vleuten 122 Lisa Brennauer 142 Katie Hall
113 Shara Gillow Anna Knauer 123 Karol-Ann Canuel 143 Cari Higgins
114 Nettie Edmondson 4 Roxane Knetemann 124 Tiffany Cromwell 144 Sharon Laws
115 Valentina Scandolara Iris Slappendel 125 Elise Delzenne 145 Lauren Tamayo
116 Gracie Elvin Lucinda Brand 126 Trixi Worrack 146 Ruth Winder

 

Wiggle-Honda Great Britain Netherlands Switzerland
151 Laura Trott 41 Lucy Garner 91 Amy Pieters 131 Jolanda Neff
152 Dani King 42 Hayley Jones 92 Anouska Koster 132 Linda Indergand
153 Charlotte Becker 43 Ciara Horne 93 Henriette Woering 133 Katrin Leumann
154 Giorgia Bronzini 44 Emily Kay 94 Ashlynn van Baarle 134 Ramona Forchini
155 Peta Mullens** 45 Katie Archibald 95 Mascha Pijnenborg 135 Caroline Bauer
156 Linda Villumsen 46 Amy Hill 96 Janine van der Meer 136 Jutta Steinen

Created with the HTML Table Generator

54 Siri Minge eplaces Miriam Bjørnsrud; confirmed by team manager Karl Lima.

155 Jo Rowsell will not race due to illness.

64 Sheyla Gutierrez Ruiz replaces Alicia Gonzalez Blanco.

82 Mel Lowther replaces Sigrid Jochems.

 

Stages

The race consists of five stages which, this year, are all in East Anglia and the south Midlands – in years to come, the race will expand to become a true Women’s Tour of Britain along the same lines as the men’s Tour of Britain (and when it does, it’ll only be a matter of time before it’s considered to be a Grand Tour alongside the Giro Rosa). In total, the riders will cover 493.1km – the shortest stage is 86.8km and the longest is 118.5km.

One thing that was very apparent when examining the route in detail is that it’s going to be a very hard-fought race with plenty of opportunity for different types of rider to gain an advantage over others – there are no high mountains but there are many small climbs that have a significant cumulative effect, while there is also plenty of scope for sprinters to gain the overall lead. With many tight turns and fast bends, there are also lots of stretches where good bike-handling skills will give a rider an advantage. It’s not at all likely that an individual or even a small group of riders will dominate, and we’re probably going to be kept guessing right up until the end.

Stage 1 – o7.05.2014 Oundle – Northampton 92.4km
Stage 2 – 08.05.2014 Hinckley – Bedford 118.5km
Stage 3 – 09.05.2014 Felixstowe – Clacton-on-Sea 86.8km
Stage 4 – 10.05.2014 Cheshunt – Welwyn Garden City 87.8km
Stage 5 – 11.05.2014 Harwich – Bury St. Edmunds 108.1km

We also have detailed guides for each stage, outlining technical sections including bends, junctions and other hazards as well as the intermediate sprints and Queen of the Mountain climbs (along with facts about the villages and towns the race visits). To see them, click on the stages above.

Stages