The 2019 OVO Energy Women’s Tour will feature six stages for the first time in the event’s history, giving cycling fans in Britain an extra chance to see the world’s best riders racing on UK roads.

The prestigious event, launched by SweetSpot Group in 2014, will grow from its present five days and once again forms part of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, which comprises the world’s top races. Dates of the 2019 event, alongside details of the six stages, will be revealed in due course.

Today’s announcement comes nearly two weeks after the successful conclusion of the men’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain (2 – 9 September), also organised by SweetSpot Group, that saw Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) claim victory after eight days of enthralling racing in front of over 1.5 million spectators.

As well as inspiring women to lead healthier, more active lifestyles, the OVO Energy Women’s Tour has challenged gender inequality in sport by notably matching the prize fund of Britain’s flagship men’s race. The 2018 edition of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour attracted 14 of the world’s top 15 teams and a field of 120 riders, featuring Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European champions aplenty.

Commenting on the announcement, Race Director Mick Bennett said: “We are delighted to have been granted a sixth day of racing for the OVO Energy Women’s Tour to build upon the success of the first five editions.  Teams and riders have been asking us to extend the event and to broaden the range of stages, which the flexibility of a sixth day will enable us to do.”

Chris Houghton, CEO Energy Retail at OVO Energy, said: “The OVO Energy Women’s Tour is already one of the highlights on the global cycling calendar and adding a sixth day opens up new opportunities for the race and its riders. As title sponsor of the race and supporters of women’s cycling, OVO Energy is thrilled at the prospect of showcasing the race in new regions and to new audiences.”

Heath Harvey, Chief Executive of SweetSpot Group, added: “We have worked closely with British Cycling and the UCI to grow the OVO Energy Women’s Tour in a sustainable fashion and after the success shown by the first five editions it is only right that the event can visibly grow.

“We are immensely proud that Britain is at the forefront of the growth in women’s cycling and the addition of a sixth stage will enable us to take the event to more people than ever before, to showcase women’s sport and inspire more people to be active and get on their bikes.”

Julie Harrington, Chief Executive of British Cycling, said: “This is fantastic news, both for the event and for women’s cycling as a whole. We have been very open about our determination to close our sport’s historic gender gap, and this is yet another step towards that. Our ambitious target to get one million more women on bikes by 2020 is well on schedule, and the increased opportunities for women and girls to watch the world’s best female riders racing on British roads can only help us towards that goal.”

This year’s OVO Energy Women’s Tour was won by Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) and featured stages in Suffolk, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, before finishing on the North Wales coast in Colwyn Bay.

The full calendar for the 2019 UCI Women’s WorldTour will be confirmed on Friday 28 September at the UCI World Road Race Championships in Innsbruck, Austria.