The premiere women’s international cycle race in the UK, is coming to Oxfordshire on Monday October 4.
Around 100 pro-cyclists – accompanied by support vehicles – will race from Bicester, continuing through Oxford and Abingdon, to the finish in Banbury.
The riders will pass through north Cherwell taking in Hook Norton, Sibford Ferris and Broughton arriving in Banbury for the first time. They will then head back out through Bloxham completing a short loop of parishes before returning to Banbury where they will pass the Banbury Cross and the Fine Lady statue on their way to a sprint to the line on South Bar Street.
There will be rolling road closures from approximately 11am at the race start area in Bicester, controlled by police and route marshals, that will then continue along the route. They will involve highways and junctions with access roads onto the route, closing for short periods while the race passes through.
Road closure locations along the route – between Bicester and Banbury – are listed in on online, and can be viewed through the following web link: https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/business/licences-and-permits/public-event-planning
Two Banbury area schools will also be closed due to the road closures across the area. Both Frank Wise School in Banbury and The Warriner School will be closed.
A message on the county's school closure listings said: "The Warriner School will be closed on Monday 04/10 to all staff and students. This is because, following consultation with the bus companies, we cannot guarantee getting our students on site and home again at the end of the day. The school will reopen on Tuesday 05/10. All children will be taught virtually and parents are being informed."
The headteachers of Frank Wise School wrote a letter about their school closure, some which said: "We feel we have no reasonable choice to make other than to close the school on Monday 4th October. This will ensure that we can offer pupils and families clarity and certainty, which we would not be able to do should we remain open.
"We recognise that for some of you this will cause significant disruption. Oxfordshire County Council will be raising this with the event organisers in order to ensure that this does not happen again."
The letter can been viewed in its entirety through the following web link: https://frankwise.oxon.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Letter-to-Families-re-Closure-16.09.21.pdfCllr Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cycling Champion, said: “We want this prestigious race to leave a legacy for the county; not only a lasting economic impact, but by motivating people to be more active and improve their health.”
Residents are encouraged to pick a time and place along the route where they can enjoy the excitement and cheer the riders on.
Predicted race timings for when the peloton will pass through each local area are available on the Women’s Tour website, and can be found online with the following web link: https://www.womenstour.co.uk/stage-one-timetableHayley Beer-Gamage, CEO at Experience Oxfordshire, said: “We are delighted to see the AJ Bell Women’s Tour returning to Oxfordshire. This is an exciting sporting and spectator event and will be running through and along many great Oxfordshire locations including, not only the city of Oxford, but also some of our great market towns such as Abingdon, Banbury, Eynsham, Woodstock and Bicester. We would like to encourage spectators to make sure they plan in advance if they are going to attend so that everyone can have the most enjoyable experience possible.”
This is the second year that Oxfordshire will host the Women’s Tour, part of a three-year commitment which began in 2019 (the 2020 race was postponed). Different routes are planned each year to showcase the county’s diversity to a national and international audience.
Oxfordshire is expecting economic and health benefits from hosting the prestigious event, with cycling fans expected to visit the county to watch the race, generating additional business for restaurants, bars, hotels, B&Bs and shops.
Families are expected to line the route to cheer on competitors, turning the event into an exciting community spectacle.
The Women’s Tour is Britain’s longest-running professional women’s race and part of the prestigious UCI Women’s World Tour series.
Women’s Tour Race Director Mick Bennett said: “Oxfordshire is a historic and world-famous county. I am looking forward to the tour returning to this beautiful county for a second year, following our first visit in 2019.”