Women’s cycle tour is hailed as a big success

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The world’s best female cyclists shot through the Harborough district last week as part of the hugely successful first Women’s Tour.

Hundreds of people lined the streets in a number of towns and villages in the area to show their support to the elite riders taking part in the inaugural Friends Life Women’s Tour.

The county played host to the second stage of the tour last Thursday, with Lutterworth and Kilworth holding specialist legs of the tournament, which was covered on television by ITV.

The spectators braved the torrid weather conditions and the county council said it was delighted with the turnout.

The county council’s cabinet member for transport Peter Osborne said: “We are extremely pleased with how the race went.

“Organising such a large-scale event took time and careful planning and I am pleased to see it was a success.

“I’d especially like to thank all the supporters who came out to cheer on the riders in spite of some pretty bad weather.

“Eight Harborough district primary schools lined the route to watch the race and cheer on the competitors through the Yodel Sprint Stage in Lutterworth.

“I hope that by having the chance to see some of the world’s top sportswomen in action that they will be inspired to become the next batch of elite cyclists.”

The second stage of the tour started in Hinckley’s Market Place last Thursday.

The world class field then covered 118.5km passing through Enderby, Cosby, Broughton Astley and Lutterworth before crossing into Northamptonshire on its way to the stage finish in Bedford.

Oundle in Northamptonshire hosted the start of the tour which took place over five stages between Wednesday, May 7, and Sunday, May 11.

The cyclists battled to become Strava’s Queen of the Mountains at Kilworth and the Yodel Direct Sprint champion in Lutterworth.

Sprint champion on the day was Italian cyclist Silvia Valsecchi and Strava Queen of the Mountains was Britain’s Ciara Horne.

The winner of last Thursday’s stage was Italian cyclist Rossella Ratto.

The overall winner of the tour was Dutch cyclist and the world and Olympic champion, Marianne Vos.

She was the winner on three out of the five stages and was crowned the champion in Bury St Edmunds.

Cllr Osborne said discussions have not been held about the event returning to Leicestershire but the county council is open to the idea.

He said: “As yet we haven’t had a discussion with the Women’s Tour organisers about next year’s event.

“We are open to the idea of the race coming for another year but we’d need to make a decision closer to the time.”