The Aviva Women’s Tour route has been announced – and it’s set to be the toughest yet, with 2,000m of climbing during its first day in the Peak District.
The five day event, taking place Wednesday 15 to Sunday 19 June, is part of the new UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar, and one of just four multi-day stage races in the pro women’s season.
The Aviva Women’s Tour, which first ran in 2014, was made more challenging following requests from the teams and, according to organisers, interest for hosting the event has been “huge”. The hilly course could favour a win from home favourite, and one of the pro peloton's best climbers, Lizzie Armitstead.
Aviva Women's Tour Race Director, Mick Bennett, said: "We are delighted to present the route for the 2016 Aviva Women's Tour with a significantly tougher parcours than the previous editions, as requested by the team's following last year, allowing us to take the race to some new areas.
“The interest from venues around the country to host the race has been huge, allowing us to put together an attractive route that will make not only for excellent racing, but also big crowds from the major towns and cities on, or close to the route.
"When we created the Women's Tour in 2014 we said that our aim was for the event to be the world's best women's race within three years and it is our firm belief that being a part of the new UCI Women's WorldTour sees us well on course to do so.”
The race begins at Southwold on the Suffolk coast, before taking in Norfolk, which is debuting in the Women’s Tour, with the opening finish in Norwich city centre.
Stage 3 features more than 2,000m of climbing
Stage two travels 140km between Atherstone and Stratford-upon-Avon, visiting Warwickshire for the first time, while stage three sees 2,000m of climbing in and around the Peak District, between Ashbourne and Chesterfield in Derbyshire. Nottingham and Stoke-on-Trent, the 2016 UK European City of Sport, will provide the start and finish lines for day four, with a hilly finish through the Staffordshire Moorlands. The race ends in Kettering on day five.
Highlights of each stage will be shown by ITV4 every evening during the race.
Reigning World Road Race Champion, Lizzie Armitstead, of 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.”
Further announcements, including the locations of the Strava Queen of the Mountains climbs and Chain Reaction Cycles Sprints, will be announced in the coming weeks, along with the teams that will compete in the 2016 Aviva Women’s Tour.