A much harder route than previous editions has been announced for the third edition of the Aviva Women’s Tour. The five-day race, which begins on June 15, will take the riders from Southwold on the Suffolk coast to the Northamptonshire town of Kettering.
After last year’s edition, the riders asked organisers for a bigger challenge and they have responded with more climbing for the 2016 edition. The Women’s Tour was inaugurated in 2014 and will form part of the first-ever women’s WorldTour and is expected to attract a strong line-up once again.
“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,” said race director Mick Bennett.
Lisa Brennauer won last year’s race ahead of Jolien d’Hoore after winning one stage and finishing in the top five in all but one day. Reigning world champion Lizzie Armitstead claimed the first leader’s jersey of the race after winning the first stage. However, she was unable to wear the jersey following a dramatic crash with a group of photographers just after the line. Armitstead is expected to be another attendee come in June.
“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," said Armitstead.
“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.”
Stage one will see the peloton head from Southwold and zigzag their way northwards into Norwich, which is hosting a stage for the first time. The 132km ride is a lumpy one but it only has 888 meters of climbing in total. However, the finish is not straightforward and a small climb in the final kilometres could be just enough for a lone attacker to make a break.
The race will move to the west for the 140-kilometre stage two beginning in Atherstone, travelling around Birmingham and south to the finish in the home of Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon. The climbing will increase on this day with almost double the previous day’s at 1,722. A long run into the finish could allow a group to chase down any attackers, however.
A long transfer north will bring the riders just west of Stoke-on-Trent for the start of stage three in Ashborne for the first of two days in the Peak District. It is set to be the most challenging of the race, taking on almost 2,000 metres of climbing as they first head north to Buxton before turning west towards the finish in Chesterfield.
Staying in the Peaks, Nottingham will play host to the 119-kilometre fourth stage. Overall, there is much less climbing involved here but what climbing it does contain is packed towards the end, giving chances to any brave opportunists. The final day brings the convoy back down south where there are still chances to have an influence on the final. Beginning in Northampton, the parcours takes on a sawblade like appearance, travelling south before looping back up for the finish in Kettering.
The Aviva Women’s Tour will take place between June 15 to 19.
Watch a video interview with Lisa Brennauer (Canyon//Sram) about the 2016 Aviva Women's Tour.