The route for this year’s Women’s Tour Grand Départ between Colchester and Bury St Edmunds have been announced.
Stage one of the UK’s leading women’s cycle race, set to take place on Monday 6 June, will pass through Manningtree, Capel St Mary, Stowmarket, Needham Market, and Lavenham.
Over 100 of the world’s best riders will set off from the Colchester Sports Park at Northern Gateway, the town’s acclaimed new multi-sport facility that features a closed road cycle circuit, and take in many of the historic town centre’s famous landmarks – including the Jumbo Water Tower, Town Hall, Natural History Museum and Firstsite arts venue – in the opening kilometres.
The route (142 kilometres / 88.2 miles) will then pass over the River Stour into Suffolk and travel under the Orwell Bridge before heading north west through the Babergh District. Bildeston will be raced through twice as part of an anti-clockwise loop through Mid-Suffolk that takes in the 2019 stage finish location of Stowmarket.
The finish line on Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds will be approached from the south via Lavenham. This will mark the cathedral town’s third appearance in race history, although it will be the first finish there since Marianne Vos won the finale of the 2014 edition.
Councillor Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Public Health and Public Protection, said: “I’m delighted that we can reveal the route the Women’s Tour will be taking through Essex and Suffolk this year.
“The race always provides a great opportunity for communities to come together and celebrate all that our county has to offer, while inspiring people to become more physically active.”
The Women’s Tour will feature all 14 of the top division UCI Women’s World Teams this year with 18 teams and 108 riders competing in the race, the biggest field in the eight-year history of the Women’s Tour.
Subsequent days of the race will include a first visit to Gloucester (stage three, Wednesday 8 June), with a route through the Forest of Dean between Tewkesbury and Gloucestershire, before two stages in Wales (stages four and five, Thursday 9 and Friday 10 June). The latter features the most elevation gain of any stage in this year’s race (2,065m), in part owing to the summit finish atop Black Mountain in the Brecon Beacons.
The Women’s Tour will conclude in Oxfordshire on Saturday 11 June with a stage between picturesque Chipping Norton, in the Cotswolds, and the heart of historic Oxford.
Further details of all of the stages 2022 Women’s Tour – including full stage timetables, interactive maps, and competing riders – will be published shortly.
Highlights of this year’s race will once again be shown on ITV4 in the UK, and around the world via Eurosport and GCN. Women’s Tour organisers SweetSpot continue to work on securing the funding required to broadcast the event live.
Visit sweetspotgroup.co.uk/partnerships for more information.