Women’s Tour cycling race set for start in Chipping Norton this year

The 2022 Women’s Tour, Britain’s biggest and longest running international women’s cycling stage race, will end with a spectacular Oxfordshire finale in June.

By Matt Elofson
Friday, 25th March 2022, 9:44 am
Updated Friday, 25th March 2022, 9:46 am
Women’s Tour cycling race set for start in Chipping Norton this year (Image from Oxfordshire County Council)
Women’s Tour cycling race set for start in Chipping Norton this year (Image from Oxfordshire County Council)

Stage six on Saturday June 11 will start in Chipping Norton before culminating in Oxford city centre.

As part of race organiser SweetSpot’s three-year partnership with Oxfordshire County Council, and the county’s city and district councils, this stage will visit parts of the county that did not feature in previous stages.

Neither Chipping Norton, the county’s highest town, or Oxford have hosted a stage start or finish of the race to date, although the world’s best riders did pass through the historic city’s eastern side during last year’s stage from Bicester to Banbury.

Cllr Liz Leffman, leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “What a fantastic way to showcase our wonderful county to the world. I’m confident this event will support and raise awareness of cycling and its benefits, as well as bring an economic boost to our communities – so important as businesses recover from the pandemic. Hosting this prestigious race for a third time is a great collaborative effort between the county council and our local authority colleagues.”

Michele Mead, leader of West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “I am really pleased that Chipping Norton has been chosen as the location to start stage six. It’s a great honour for West Oxfordshire to be hosting the start of the race, and creates an opportunity for communities to come together to watch this prestigious event right on their doorstep. Chipping Norton is already a popular destination for visitors; this event will give a great boost to local businesses and traders as well as showcasing the beauty of our District.”

This year’s stage winner will add their name to an already prestigious Oxfordshire roll of honour: former world and European champions Jolien D’hoore and Marta Bastianelli triumphed in the race’s previous visits to the county. D’hoore took victory at the world-famous Blenheim Palace in 2019, while Bastianelli won in Banbury on the opening day of last year’s race, which took place in October as a result of the pandemic.

Further details of the Oxfordshire stage, including the full route, locations, and timetables, will follow in due course.

Cllr Andrew McHugh, Cherwell District Council’s lead member for health and wellbeing, said: “Last year’s Oxfordshire stage of the Women’s Tour was a truly remarkable day, drawing big crowds to Banbury and Bicester as local people and cycling fans gathered to support some of the world’s best athletes. We are big backers of the event as it returns to our county to entertain and inspire.”

Mick Bennett, Women’s Tour Race director, said: “Oxfordshire has welcomed the Women’s Tour so enthusiastically during our previous two editions. We’re particularly looking forward to taking the race to those parts of the county that we’ve not passed through in 2019 and 2021, particularly the beautiful market town of Chipping Norton, which will put on a show by hosting the stage start. The world-class field of riders we attract will compete around the world throughout the 2022 season, but I have little doubt that the finish in Oxford will be among the most spectacular backdrops they’re greeted with this year.”