The start line of the Women’s Tour, stage 3 from Henley-on-Thames to Blenheim Palace.

Women’s Tour postponed to October

The Women’s Tour, due to start June 7th, has been postponed due to uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic.

by José Been

photography by Cor Vos

Organizers have asked the UCI for a later spot on the calendar. The prestigious six-day UCI Women’s World Tour race is hoping to host the event from October 4th to 9th. 

“We are obviously disappointed to be postponing the Women’s Tour from June but hope that by aiming to stage the race in October we can give the teams and public something to look forward to at the tail end of the summer,” race director Mick Bennett stated in a press release by organizers Sweetspot. 

The Women’s Tour is not the only World Tour race applying for an October date. The Ronde van Drenthe, set to take place on March 14, suffered a last minute cancellation in 2020 and the organizers were not so keen to take that risk again. Ronde van Drenthe asked the UCI’s permission for the last weekend of October some time ago, but the request has not yet been granted. The same goes for The Women’s Tour who are also waiting for approval from the UCI. 

The Women’s Tour, well-loved by teams and riders, is even more adored by enthusiastic crowds of spectators and school kids lining the roads of every stage. The organizers work closely with local councils along the route enabling crowds to watch the race. According to Hugh Roberts, Sweetspot chairman, this was one of the reasons to postpone the event.

“It’s far better to make the decision now and move to when we could reliably put the event on in October, then continue to have a sword of Damocles hanging over us. We need at least four months preparing for the event to make sure they [the local councils involved] get the crowds they need to justify being involved in the first place,” Roberts told Cycling Weekly.

The last edition of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour took place in 2019 and was won by home favourite Lizzie Deignan. Deignan finished ahead of Kasia Niewiadoma by only two seconds with Amy Pieters in third.

The Women’s World Tour season starts March 6th with Strade Bianche in Italy. Two weeks later the peloton races Trofeo Alfredo Binda before going to Belgium, France, and the Netherlands for the Spring Classics. In 2020 the women’s top tier of races took big hits with the cancellation of over half of the races. For 2021 the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, Itzulia Women, and RideLondon have already been cancelled.

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