The eighth edition of The Women’s Tour in the UK brings six days of racing to the Women’s WorldTour from Monday, June 6 to Saturday, June 11, 2022.
A Grand Départ for The Women's Tour will be jointly hosted by Colchester and Suffolk, with stage 1 taking in 142.1km and 1,197 metres of elevation gain in this hilly opener. The historic town of Colchester, which previously hosted a stage start in the 2021 race, will send the peloton away from Colchester Sports Park at Northern Gateway for a lumpy route with a pair of intermediate sprints - at Holbrook and 30km later in Hadleigh - and a pair of category 3 climbs. The first climb is 5km before Holbrook at Brantham Hill, and the second category 3 climb is at Bildeston, with just under 60km to go. There is also lots of uncategorised climbing to the finish line on Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. The last time the finish was held here was in 2014.
The next pair of stages offer first-time visits to Harlow and Gloucestershire. Stage 2 is a 92.1km loop that starts at Harlow Innovation Park and ends along Third Avenue in Harlow. The route takes the peloton north-east through Hatfield Heath to Great Dunmow for the first of two intermediate sprints just 20km into the stage. The second sprint will be contested 21.5km later at High Easter. The QOM points will be scored with a pair of short back-to-back climbs, the Toot Hill ascent with 19.4km to go and 6.5km later by Stonards Hill. There is also one uncategorised climb on the run-in to the finish.
Stage 3 visits Gloucestershire with a 107.9km route that takes the long way between Tewkesbury and Gloucester, which as the crow flies are situated just 16 kilometres apart. The route passes through the Forest of Dean near the start and heads out for 1,494 metres of climbing. The first of two category 2 climbs will be close to the midpoint of the race, a 2.6km ascent at Worrall Hill. Another 2.6km beyond the summit comes the first of two intermediate sprints, this one at Mile End with 55.9km to go. The next points are for more QOM glory at Speech House, the summit 11.5km to the final intermediate sprint at Westbury-On-Severn, which leads to the final flat 16.1km to the finish.
Stages in Wales
Stage four could be the toughest, taking the riders into Wales and featuring 2,108 metres of climbing across 144.7 kilometres. The route passes alongside the Chirk Aqueduct and close to Chirk Castle. The intermediate sprints, at Chirk and Llangedwyn, come in the opening 50km, which then sets up a pair of categorised climbs, the cat. 2 Hirnant Bank followed by the cat. 1 Bryn-y-Fedwen. The climbs are bookends to the loop of the Lake Vyrnwy reservoir near Llanwddyn. It is 50.7km to the finish from the crest of the 1.8km climb at Bryn-y-Fedwen in the central Cambrian Mountains, with lots of undulations towards the finish line in the heart of Welshpool on Broad Street.
The second Welsh stage culminates with a gruelling uphill finish at Black Mountain in Carmarthenshire. Stage 5 begins at sea level at Pembrey Country Park and heads north to Llandovery via Pontyberem, Nantgaredig and Brechfa, taking in 2,067 metres of elevation gain in 106.6km. This is the second mountaintop finish of the six-day race, and a brutal one, finishing atop Black Mountain in the Brecon Beacons National Park. The climb is 7.2km in length and averages 5.3% in gradient, with sections as much as 21%. It was last ridden as the final stage in 2019, British rider Hannah Barnes taking the stage win.
Oxfordshire hosts the final day of race, with 142.9km and 1,300 metres of elevation gain between Chipping Norton, the highest town in the county, and the city centre at Oxford. Starting on Chipping Norton’s High Street, the route will pass through the Cotswolds and as far north as Milcombe. Heading back to the south through West Oxfordshire towards RAF Brize Norton in Carterton, the route will also go through Faringdon, Wantage and Abingdon.
There are a pair of categorised climbs on the day, Butchers HIll just 18.8km from the start, and The Hill - Burford another 25km later. The first intermediate sprint is at Carterton, just 5km after the second QOM. The peloton rolls for another 70km before the final sprint line, in Burcot, and then it is just 21.7km to the overall finish.
The riders will cross the River Thames using the Folly Bridge as the race enters Oxford from the south side and race to the finish on the historic St Giles’.
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