British fans can look forward to watching the world's top women cyclists next week, after the full 102-rider provisional start list for the OVO Energy Women's Tour was announced this afternoon (Friday 2 June), featuring nine of the world's top ten ranked riders.
The rider list is headlined by defending OVO Energy Women's Tour champion Lizzie Deignan and her Boels Dolmans teammate Anna van der Breggen, the current leader of the UCI Women's World Tour.
All three previous Women's Tour winners are on the list, with 2015 victor Lisa Brennauer (Canyon//SRAM) and 2014 champion Marianne Vos (WM3 Pro Cycling) joining last year's winner Deignan.
Cervélo Bigla Pro Cycling include 2016 runner up Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, the current leading young rider in the UCI Women's World Tour.
Eight of the field have Olympic medals to their name, including 2016 Gold medallists Katie Archibald (Team WNT) and van der Breggen and Bronze medallists from Rio de Janeiro Elisa Longo Borghini and Jolien D'hoore (Wiggle HIGH5).
"This is an incredible line-up of the very best athletes in the world,” said Race Director Mick Bennett. "The line-up for the OVO Energy Women's Tour is exceptional and fans can now look forward to watching five days of action-packed, exciting racing as these riders battle for the OVO Energy Green Jersey.
"With such a depth of field of high-quality riders, it is very hard to predict a likely winner. In addition to our three former champions we have eight stage winners from previous editions of the race, so it really will go down to the wire with our final stage at the heart of London on the 11 June.”
Five of the field are former World Road Race Champions, while ten current National Road Race Champions will be on the start line in Daventry on Wednesday 7 June. This includes British Champion Hannah Barnes (Canyon//SRAM) and Irish Champion Lydia Boylan (Team WNT).
The full provisional rider list can be found here.
The OVO Energy Women's Tour will begin in Northamptonshire on Wednesday June 7, with the opening stage between Daventry and Kettering and also include stages in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Derbyshire, before finishing in central London on Sunday 11 June.
Ahead of the final stage, 1,000 women will take to the same circuit as the professionals in the Pink Ribbon Tour, celebrating 25-years of the pink ribbon and raising funds and awareness for Breast Cancer Care, the Official Charity Partner of the race.
A one-hour highlights programme of every stage will be broadcast daily on ITV4 and Eurosport and available on demand via the ITV Hub and Eurosport Player, featuring commentary from Hugh Porter MBE and Sharon Laws, a former Queen of the Mountains in the race. The OVO Energy Women's Tour is a part of the UCI Women's WorldTour, comprising 20 events around the world in 10 different countries.
One week after the OVO Energy Women's Tour, amateur cyclists will have the chance to ride sections of the Northamptonshire route in the Tour Ride, the official sportive of the race on Sunday 18 June. Riders can take part in 40 or 80-mile routes, starting and finishing at Delapre Abbey in Northamptonshire, or tackle a fun, 10-mile Family Ride. For more details visit www.tourride.co.uk
Stage 1 – Wednesday 7 June – Daventry to Kettering
Stage 2 – Thursday 8 June – The Stoke-on-Trent Stage
Stage 3 – Friday 9 June – Atherstone to Royal Leamington Spa
Stage 4 – Saturday 10 June – Chesterfield to Chesterfield
Stage 5 – Sunday 11 June – The London Stage