Kasia Niewiadoma, winner of the 2017 OVO Energy Women’s Tour, will return to defend her title in the five-day race that begins in Framlingham, Suffolk, on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old Polish rider, who led last year’s edition of Britain’s most prestigious women’s cycle race from start to finish, will seek to become the first rider in the event’s history to claim back-to-back victories.

She became an instant fan favourite 12 months ago when she soloed to win Stage One in Kettering by nearly two minutes. Her bond with Laura Hunter, who wrote the personalised message on the Breast Cancer Care Pink Ribbon every rider received ahead of last year’s race, also endeared her to British supporters.

Niewiadoma, who joined Canyon//SRAM for 2018 from WM3 Pro Cycling (now WaowDeals), has already claimed victory in the Trofeo Binda one-day race for her new team. She also finished third in May’s Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race.

She will be joined at the OVO Energy Women’s Tour by Alice and Hannah Barnes; the participation of the Northamptonshire siblings was announced on Wednesday.

Former Road and Cyclo-Cross World Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, Alena Amialusik and Lisa Klein complete Canyon//SRAM’s strong line-up for the race.

Inspired by the OVO Energy Women’s Tour? Entries for this year’s Tour Ride sportive, which features many of the roads used during Stage One in Suffolk, are still available here