Road closures in the Banbury area for the Women's Tour cycle race on October 4 are announced - drivers told to avoid route locations for an hour either side

Road closure details have been announced for the Oxfordshire stage of the AJ Bell Women's Tour professional cycling race – between Bicester, Oxford, Abingdon, and Banbury – on Monday, October 4 have been announced.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 9:33 am
Updated Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 9:56 am
Details of the route and road closures around Banbury for the Oxfordshire women's cycle tour have been announced

Expected timings of rolling road closures in the various locations are listed on the county council's website (download Women's Tour 2021) and motorists are advised to avoid those areas for an hour either side.

The cycle event starts in Bicester at 11am and is expected to finish at 3.30pm in Banbury. The route goes via Islip, Woodeaton, Marston, Cowley, Garsington, Clifton Hampden, Abingdon, Cumnor, Eynsham Bladon, Deddington, South Newington and Broughton to Banbury with a loop through Banbury to Bloxham. The roads in Bicester and Banbury town centre will be restricted for some hours before and after these times to enable closures, set-up, staging and media.

Road restrictions will be in place at the start point on Bicester’s Sheep Street and Market Square rom 4am involving closures, prohibitions of waiting, disabled person parking and loading and the imposing of one-way traffic. Local diversions and information signs will be used to indicate the route.

There will then 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. The length of closure depends on how dispersed the riders are.

Tom Duckham, AJ Bell Women's Tour Project Director (Oxfordshire), said: “We have worked closely with the race organisers to keep disruption to an absolute minimum. The rolling road closure system has been used for many similar events, designed to keep highways open until just before the competitors approach and allowing for quick re-opening once the trailing competitors pass.

Typically, the lead motorcycle instigating the closure is 15 minutes ahead of the lead rider. The closure then remains in place until all riders and race cars have passed through. Residents are advised to look at the route of the race and avoid trying to drive on that road for about one hour either side of the predicted time of the race passing through.

Residents are encouraged to pick a time and place along the route where they can enjoy the excitement and cheer the riders on.

Councillor 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. If you’re travelling to a vantage point, why not cycle or walk? Leave the car at home for at least part of your journey and get some exercise as a spectator.”

The route in detail: From the start line on Bicester’s Sheep Street, the race will complete a short northern loop, passing secondary school students at The Cooper School, before heading south past Graven Hill to Islip and on to Oxford. The peloton will then sweep past Magdalen College and into south Oxfordshire via Blackbird Leys. The stage will reach its southernmost point passing the Culham Science Centre before heading north through Abingdon, Eynsham, and past Woodstock.

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 Cross and the Fine Lady statue on their way to a sprint to the line on South Bar Street.

There will be around 100 pro-cyclists, accompanied by support vehicles. Many spectators are expected to line the route.

Predicted race timings for when the peloton will pass through each local area are available on the Women’s Tour website at www.womenstour.co.uk/stage-one-timetable