Banbury will welcome the world’s best riders when it hosts the finish of this year’s opening Women’s Tour stage on Monday 4 October.

The historic northern Oxfordshire market town, which is set to make its debut in the world’s most prestigious women’s cycle race, is where the first stage winner of the Women’s Tour in 842 days will be crowned following the postponement of the 2020 event owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bicester was previously unveiled as the starting point of stage one, which will take place entirely in Oxfordshire, at the start of 2020. The race is returning to the county as part of a three-year agreement that Oxfordshire County Council unveiled with SweetSpot in 2019.

Belgian rider and Olympic medallist Jolien D’hoore won the race’s first-ever Oxfordshire stage two years ago, which was held between Henley-on-Thames and Blenheim Palace. Over 53,000 spectators watch the action unfold from the roadside, with 81% of them describing the event as “very enjoyable”. The stage also generated a boost of £471,683 for the Oxfordshire economy.

For more information, visit the Oxfordshire County Council website

In quotes

Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the Women’s Tour back to Oxfordshire, inspiring more people to get their bikes out of the shed. Over the last year, we have seen more and more residents cycling. We hope by welcoming back the race, even more people will take to two-wheels, the healthy transport option. The benefits of cycling for personal health cannot be overstated, along with reducing congestion on our roads. Oxfordshire is the perfect backdrop for this race, and we look forward to showing off the county at its best.”

Councillor Barry Wood, Leader of Cherwell District Council, said: “Having the start and finish of the first leg of the Women’s Tour in Cherwell is a real honour. It’s the perfect opportunity to showcase what our wonderful district has to offer and we look forward to welcoming the riders, teams and fans for the race this autumn.”

Mick Bennett, Women’s Tour race director, said: “After the incredible welcome the Women’s Tour received upon its first visit to Oxfordshire in 2019, I have no doubt that we’re in for more of the same come our return to the county in October. The battle to win the opening stage of the race has historically been fierce – everybody in Banbury should know that they’re guaranteed an unforgettable show, all courtesy of these world-class athletes who never fail to light up the Women’s Tour!”

Women's Tour Oxfordshire

Photo: Jolien D’hoore wins at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, during the 2019 Women’s Tour

About the Women’s Tour

Established in 2014, the Women’s Tour now forms part of the prestigious UCI Women’s WorldTour series. Event organisers SweetSpot working to deliver worldwide live television coverage of the event, which has by won by the likes of British Olympic medallist Lizzie Deignan and all-time great Marianne Vos, for the first time this year.

The Women’s Tour continues to look for a headline sponsor for 2021 and beyond. With cycling enjoying a boom in the UK, and hundreds of thousands of new and returning cyclists taking to two wheels, partnership opportunities for brands looking to target a healthy national audience and to be associated with the world’s leading women’s professional cycling race are available at all levels and on a regional level to support individual stages.