The Women’s Tour will break new ground once again in 2021 when Warwickshire hosts the first individual time trial stage in race history this October.

Atherstone will host the time trial’s start and finish on day three of this year’s race (Wednesday 6 October), marking a record fourth time that the Women’s Tour will have visited the North Warwickshire market town.

This stage is set to be the first individual time trial held after the UCI World Championships in Flanders, Belgium, meaning British fans could get to see the newly-crowned world champion tackle the route – 16 kilometres/10 miles in recognition of the UK’s rich time trial heritage – in the legendary rainbow jersey.

Warwickshire previously made Women’s Tour history when it hosted the race’s first uphill finish – held at Burton Dassett Country Park and won by Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon SRAM) – in 2019. Full details of stage three will be revealed in due course.

Women's Tour Annemiek van Vleuten

Photo: Annemiek van Vleuten en route to winning the 2018 UCI World Championships time trial in Innsbruck-Tirol

In quotes

Annemiek van Vleuten, Movistar Team rider and two-time world time trial champion, said: “This news makes me really happy! Time trialling is an important part of cycling – it is a Olympic discipline – but we don’t have many opportunities to ride them, so I’m really excited that the Women’s Tour has added one! This type of stage is good for me – but it’s also good for the future of cycling: younger athletes can learn so much by doing them.

“The Women’s Tour is such a great event – I still get goosebumps when I think about how many schoolchildren line the side of the roads. I hope that this is the case once again in October!”

Councillor Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “Warwickshire County Council is committed to cycling which it has shown in recent years with its support for the Women’s Tour and the Tour of Britain. Both events have always had a very positive impact on the local economy with the many visitors they bring to Warwickshire.

“We hope that we will be in a position to enjoy similar numbers this year.  But regardless of any restrictions on travel or size of gatherings, the county remains a staunch supporter of both cycling and promoting women in sport, in particular encouraging more young girls to participate in sport. We will continue to promote cycling at every opportunity as a healthy pursuit and an environmentally-friendly form of travel.”

Councillor David Wright, Leader of North Warwickshire Borough Council, said: “We are delighted to welcome the Women’s Tour back to North Warwickshire and we are particularly pleased that Atherstone has been selected to host the first-ever Women’s Tour time trial. We will need to review the health guidelines at the time of the event but hope we will be able to generate the warm welcome that we have on previous occasions. The events create great excitement in North Warwickshire and will provide a fantastic boost to the local area as we seek to recover from the effects of the COVID outbreak.”

Women's Tour Atherstone

Photo: Huge crowds greeted the Women’s Tour when stage three of the 2018 race started in Atherstone

About the Women’s Tour

The 2021 Women’s Tour starts in Oxfordshire, with the world’s best riders tackling a stage between Bicester and Banbury on Monday 4 October. This will be the second edition running that the historic county will feature in the race owing to a three-year contract SweetSpot and Oxfordshire County Council signed in 2019.

This year’s race will visit Walsall for the first time on stage two (Tuesday 5 October), as the Black Country town becomes only the third venue – after Stoke-on-Trent and Chesterfield in 2017 – to host the start and finish of a road stage on the same day.

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent rescheduling of the race from its traditional June dates, the original planned venue for stage four is no longer able to host the race. Therefore SweetSpot are seeking a new partner(s) to fill the vacated slot on Thursday 7 October.

The 2021 Women’s Tour will culminate with two previously-announced stages in the East of England: Colchester to Clacton (stage five, Friday 8 October) and Haverhill to Felixstowe in Suffolk (stage six, Saturday 9 October).

Organisers and British Cycling intend that each stage of the Women’s Tour will also be used to celebrate Britain’s key workers and community heroes.  Each day will play host to a special ride giving us a chance to say thank you and show our appreciation to our community heroes, offering them an unforgettable experience to ride ahead of the professionals at the race.