Banburyshire hills put women cyclists to the test

Riders battle it out
Riders battle it out

The rain failed to deter cycling fans from turning out to the Warwickshire stage of this year’s OVO Energy Women’s Tour, which featured a Queen of the Mountain stage up Sun Rising Hill.

Spectators braved the elements to line the streets and see the world’s top female cyclists battle it out in Stage 4 of the road race.

A total of 15 teams and 96 competitors were given a supportive send-off in Warwick before making their way around the county to finish with a spectacular hill climb to the top of Burton Dassett Country Park.

The race was officially started by the Mayor of Warwick, Cllr Neale Murphy, and the winner of the start flag design competition, Oscar Morley from St Margaret's CofE Junior School in
Whitnash.

The winner of the Warwickshire stage was Kasia Niewiadoma from the Canyon//Sram Racing team, and she was presented with a trophy by Leader of Warwickshire County Council, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, and trophy design winner Beatrice Hurst from Priors Field Primary School in Kenilworth.

She was also presented with a special gin by Peter Monks from Shakespeare Distillery, named ‘Warwickshire Winner’, which was a special one-off bottle for the cyclist who crossed the finish line first.

The leaders were minutes ahead of the main group when they reached Sunrising Hill

The leaders were minutes ahead of the main group when they reached Sunrising Hill

Cllr Seccombe said: “Despite the wet weather, it was another spectacular event for Warwickshire and I want to thank everyone who braved the rain to support the incredible competitors.

“2019 marks the fourth year that the county has hosted the Women’s Tour and shows not only that our relationship with the organisers goes from strength to strength, but also that Warwickshire continues to be a perfect destination for cyclists.

“It is wonderful that so many of our towns and villages are involved in the event and that Warwickshire as a whole is given a global stage to showcase itself on.

The Cllr added: “Now, we look to September and make sure that we are prepared to welcome the riders in the OVO Energy Tour of Britain and continue to put Warwickshire on the map for its excellent cycling routes.”

It was the first time the event went through all five districts and boroughs of Warwickshire – supported by Warwick District Council, Stratford-on-Avon District Council, Rugby Borough
Council and North Warwickshire Borough Council.

The 159km route started in Warwick’s Market Place outside Shire Hall and raced through towns and villages such as Leek Wootton, Kenilworth, Gibbet Hill, University of Warwick, Fillongley, Corley Ash, Bedworth Heath, Bedworth, Bulkington, Shilton, Brinklow, Brentford, Church Lawford, Long Lawford, Cawston, Bilton, Dunchurch, Wellesbourne, Pillerton Priors, Edgehill and Warmington.

It then included a 12.5km loop of Burton Dassett which saw the cyclists go through the finish line three times.