The Women’s Tour of Britain is the UK’s most prestigious international women’s race and is back with an Oxfordshire Grand Départ on Monday the 4th of October. Drops-Le Col sponsored by Tempur continental cycling team has been ever-present in the UK’s longest-running women’s stage race since its inception in 2014. The team will once more look to brighten up the peloton aboard their eye-catching Endurance SL R team bikes.
The Women’s Tour of Britain is the UK’s most prestigious stage race. Thanks, in no small part to its status as a UCI Women’s Worldtour event. The race is one of only seven multi-stage races in 2021 to be afforded the highest ranking by cycling’s governing body. As such, the cream of the worlds cycling talent will line up for the start in Bicester.
Drops-Le Col supported by Tempur Team Lineup
The core of the team for this year’s edition of the Women’s Tour is British, with a good mixture of youthful exuberance and experienced roadcraft. This will be Joss Lowden’s final appearance for DROPS at the tour and she will hope to bid a fond farewell to the team by finishing as high on GC as possible.
Fresh from her 8th place finish at the recent World Road Race Championships time trial, Joss will look to lead the team. Though Joss will be looking to finish as high as possible on the general classification she will surely be looking to target stage 3’s individual time trial.
Marjolein Van’t Geloof
The invaluable road captain has played an integral part in the team’s success this season. After securing the victory in July’s Profonde van Deurne, Dutch powerhouse Majo will be looking to ride in support of team leader Joss. In addition to taking advantage of any opportunity to get involved in a bunch sprint.
After an impressive performance in the Giro Toscana, Anna will be a valuable teammate for Joss. Isle of Man rider Anna is a fan of lumpy courses with long climbs that break up the race into one of attrition. While the Women’s Tour may not be blessed with too many long alpine-like climbs, stage two’s route profile looks tailor-made for a rider of Anna’s pedigree.
At just 18 years of age, this season has been one for gaining valuable experience of riding in World Tour level races. Her calm demeanour and physical attributes make her an invaluable cog in the team for the Women’s Tour.
April’s recent third-place finish in the Curlew Cap also helped her secure a superb runner-up position in the HSBC UK National Road Series. A fast finisher, we may see April getting involved if it comes down to a bunch sprint.
Dani’s wealth of experience will prove invaluable in the race and she will no doubt be hoping to get into a break. It’s Dani’s favourite place to be, so let’s hope she gets a chance to display her attacking instincts in a breakaway or two.
Tour of Britain Stage Preview
Oxfordshire will host the Grand Départ for the first time in the Women’s Tour history. The opening stage looks set to be a lumpy affair with a 147.6 km route that starts in the historic Market Square of Bicester. Before it then heads North to finish in the market town of Banbury. There are points up for grabs in the sprints and climbers competition, courtesy of two intermediate sprints and three climbs. The final part of the stage will see riders complete a finishing circuit to the southwest of Banbury.
Stage two is even lumpier than the first as riders will complete 10-laps of a 10-km clockwise circuit around Hayhead Woods, Barr Beacon nature reserve and Pool Green. Anybody with early aspirations of wearing the sprint’s competition or climbers jersey will have plenty of opportunities to amass points in the respective competitions. For the sprint jersey, there are three intermediate sprints at Barr Common on laps four, six, and eight. For those looking to don the Skoda Queen of the Mountains jersey, the 1.2km climb of Barr Beacon offers up a chance to claim those all-important points.
Warwickshire plays host to the first individual time trial in Women’s Tour history when the race visits Atherstone. Riders will race against the clock on a 16km circuit that will see the newly crowned world TT champion Ellen van Dijk display her Rainbow Bands in competition for the very first time. Fresh from finishing 8th at the World Championships, Drops team leader Joss Lowden will be looking to this stage to put some time into her GC rivals.
The days 117.5km route sets off from East Beach, Shoeburyness before heading into the rural roads of Essex. The relatively flat route profile should suit the sprinters so it should be a straight-up shootout between the sprinter’s teams and any breakaway. The finish line is situated along the seafront in Westcliff-on-Sea. Will it be a day for the sprinters or will we see the opportunists triumph?
The penultimate stage sees Colchester welcome the Women’s Tour for the first time. Riders will race from the historic castle town to the seaside resort of Clacton on Sea. All is not quite finished upon arrival in Clacton however, as there is still an anti-clockwise loop to complete before arriving at the finish within sight of Clacton Pier.
The world’s top cyclists return to Suffolk for the first time since 2014 and they face a rolling 115.5km route from Haverhill to Felixstowe. Any riders with aspirations of claiming the sprints competition or climbers competition jerseys will look to seal the deal on the stages two intermediate sprints and hill climbs. After 535km of racing and 4846m of ascent, the riders will no doubt be happy to reach the seafront at Felixstowe where there promises to be a fast-paced and frantic final worthy of completing the 2021 Women’s Tour.
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