The Women's Tour de Yorkshire has secured Asda as a title sponsor in 2016 and confirmed the appearance of world champion Lizzie Armitstead for the April 30 race. The inaugural edition of the race was won by Louse Mahé (IKON-Mazda) ahead of Eileen Roe (Wiggle Honda).
The one-day Asda Women's Tour de Yorkshire will take place on the men's Tour de Yorkshire stage 2 course, a 135km jaunt from Otley to Doncaster with £15,000 prize money for the winner, £10,000 for second, and £5,000 for third place. There will be prize money for the first 20 finishers.
"Today is a hugely significant milestone for women's racing. We've come good on our promise to expand the women's race and rather than rest at bringing parity in terms of the men's route and broadcast coverage, we've gone further to offer the world's most lucrative prize fund," said chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire Gary Verity.
"Together with our sponsors, we're bringing women's racing the respect it deserves and I can think of no better way to start our race in Otley than with our very own World Champion on the start line."
Armitstead, who was born in Otley, will line up with the Great Britain Cycling Team for her first race on home soil since winning the rainbow jersey stripes in Richmond last September.
"The Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women's race will be my first race in the UK in my World Champion's jersey and it's an absolute dream to be starting in my home town," said Armitstead, who has won three of the four races she's started in 2016 with her trade team Boels Dolmans.
With an association that stretches back to Yorkshire hosting the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ, Asda President and CEO Andy Clarke explained it was an easy decision to continue its support of cycling, and women's cycling in particular.
"It's a privilege to be supporting the Tour de Yorkshire women's race and helping to raise the profile of women's sports. In 2014 Asda was the official partner of the Tour Makers for the Yorkshire Grand Départ, which was a resounding success. We're incredibly proud of our Yorkshire roots and wanted to remain part of this exciting legacy that works to bring communities together in celebration of an amazing sport set against the backdrop of an unbeatable county."
The Women's Tour de Yorkshire will get underway at 8:30am in Otley with an expected finish in Doncaster between 11:59am and 12:22pm with the action to be broadcast on ITV4 and Eurosport.
2016 Women's Tour de Yorkshire teams
Ale Cipollini (Ita)
Boot Out Breast Cancer Cycling Team (GBr)
Cylance Pro Cycling Team (USA)
Drops Cycling Team (GBr)
Fusion RT Fierlan (GBr)
Great Britain National Team (GBr)
Hitec Products (Nor)
Lares-Waowdeals UCI Women Team (Bel)
Podium Ambition p/b Club La Santa (GBr)
Team Breeze (GBr)
Team Footon Velosport (Ita)
Team Liv Plantur (Ned)
Team Wnt (GBr)
Wiggle High5 (GBr)