Full details of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour Oxfordshire route were revealed at a ceremony at the town’s Leander Club on Monday 15 April.
The OVO Energy Women’s Tour is Britain’s longest-running professional women’s race and is part of the prestigious UCI Women’s World Tour series.
Thanks to title sponsor OVO Energy, the award-winning independent energy supplier, the event will once again back a prize fund equal to that of the men’s Tour of Britain for the second year running.
Elite cyclist Sophie Wright announced that Oxfordshire’s race section will start from the Market Place in the centre of Henley. The town will host a Big Bike Breakfast on the morning of the race, taking place on Wednesday 12 June.
Crowds will line the streets, cheering off participants on the 145 kilometre-leg that will finish outside Blenheim Palace in West Oxfordshire.
From Henley, stage three will traverse the Chilterns via Pishill to Watlington, before returning via the climb of Britwell Hill to Sonning Common and Goring.
Crossing the River Thames at Wallingford, the route will pass through Didcot, Harwell and Wantage, crossing the Vale of White Horse to Faringdon, before looping through the West Oxfordshire towns of Burford, Charlbury and finally Woodstock in the closing kilometres.
Around 100 professional riders will weave their way through towns, villages and rural areas, inspiring local schools to organise themed sport and fitness lessons. Highlights of the race will also be screened on ITV4.
Businesses are encouraged to get involved by sponsoring the event or through creating window displays and running competitions. Case studies are available to view here.
With over 300,000 spectators watching the race in 2018, it’s clear the event offers significant opportunities for businesses, especially those who embrace the OVO Energy Women’s Tour’s visit.
Oxfordshire is expecting economic and health benefits from hosting the prestigious event, with cycling fans expected to visit the county to watch the race, generating additional business for restaurants, bars, hotels, B&Bs and shops.
In a comparable stage in last year’s race in Warwickshire, additional local expenditure linked directly to the event totalled £2m by around 100,000 spectators. Nearly two-thirds (63%) came from outside the county and 67% of spectators said they were inspired to cycle more often.
Mark Stone, Chief Executive of South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse District Councils said:
“This is wonderful news for residents and businesses in Henley and across our two districts – the economic benefits will be significant. It will hopefully inspire lots of people to take part in healthy activities like cycling, but just as importantly it is going to be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to watching it.”