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Coronavirus: Women's Tour postponed

OVO Energy Women's Tour 2019
OVO Energy Women's Tour 2019 (Image credit: Getty Images)

SweetSpot Group have announced that the 2020 edition of the Women’s Tour, scheduled for June 8-13, has been postponed owing to the current international uncertainty surrounding the spread of the coronavirus or COVID-19 virus.

The SweetSpot Group also organises the UK domestic Tour Series circuit race series, scheduled to take place across various dates in May, and have postponed those events as well as the UCI Women’s WorldTour stage race.

"Following consultation with stakeholders, sponsors and partners, organisers of the Women’s Tour have decided to postpone the upcoming seventh edition of the annual professional cycle race (8-13 June) due to the current international uncertainty surrounding the spread of the COVID-19 virus," read a press statement. 

"The decision has been taken early in light of the worsening global situation, following discussions with event stakeholders and partners, in order to provide certainty to the many parties involved in the planning and organisation of the event, including local authorities, police and health services in the UK. 

"As a part of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, the Women’s Tour attracts a significant international presence from teams, riders, officials, staff, media and spectators, and it is felt that the risk of increased restrictions on international travel would be detrimental to the future of the race should an early, and conclusive, decision not be made. 

"Organisers hope to work with the UCI and British Cycling to find an alternative date in the international cycling calendar for the race to take place should conditions permit."

The Women's WorldTour series has seen a number of cancellations and postponements due to health and safety precautions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic including Tour of Chongming Island, Strade Bianche, Bevrijdingsronde van Drenthe, Trofeo Alfredo Binda postponed, Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne and Gent-Wevelgem. The Tour of California was cancelled last year due to financial reasons.

In November, SweetSpot Group announced that previous title sponsor OVO Energy would end its title sponsorship of the events and that they are searching for a new leading financial backer. However, SweetSpot and British Cycling said they had committed to running the events for another 10 years and are looking for a title brand that aligns with those longterm plans.

The Women’s Tour women’s race debuted in 2014 as a 2.1 event but quickly rose to the top-level of professional bike racing when it joined the Women’s WorldTour in 2016. When OVO Energy took over as title sponsor the following year, the event became one of the most attractive races of the series. In 2018, OVO Energy brought parity to the Women’s Tour prize fund to that of the Tour of Britain. The peloton competed for €97,880 in 2019. The race also expanded to six stages.

Previous winners of the Women’s Tour include Marianne Vos (2014), Lisa Brennauer (2015), Katarzyna Niewiadoma (2017), Coryn Rivera (2018) and Lizzie Deignan (2016 and 2019).