Olympic Champion Dani Rowe and rising star Manon Lloyd will spearhead the Welsh challenge in a world-class field for the OVO Energy Women’s Tour cycle race, which finishes in Colwyn Bay next Sunday (17 June).
Rowe, from Cardiff, is an Olympic gold medallist and three time world champion while Lloyd, a 21-year-old from Carmarthen , is one of British cycling’s rising stars.
They are among a field that includes the reigning World, European and Commonwealth Road Race Champions Chantal Blaak, Marianne Vos and Chloe Hosking when it sets off from Framlingham in Suffolk on Wednesday.
It finishes on Sunday afternoon after five stages and over 420 miles of riding with the toughest section coming last, from Dolgellau through the mountains of Snowdonia to Porth Eirias, Colwyn Bay.
Also in the lineup is Polish defending champion Kasia Niewiadoma, who will wear number one and lead a Canyon//SRAM line-up that also includes Hannah and Alice Barnes, and former World Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, making her debut in the race.
It’s the fifth running and the first time in Wales for the event, part of the Women’s World Tour of 23 races across 10 countries, and thousands are expected to line the route on the final day, Sunday, June 17, when the riders will fight it out for a record £80,000 prize pot with the biggest crowds at the finish at Porth Eirias.
Last year’s race was watched in over 100 countries worldwide on television and it will be covered again on Eurosport and on ITV4 with daily highlights programmes repeated online.
Race organisers expect up to 100,000 spectators for the final day, the first time the event has left England, and Colwyn BID manager Cheryl Williams said: “It’s a major coup to have attracted such a major sporting event to Colwyn Bay especially for the climax of the race to take place here at Porth Eirias in Wales’s Year of the Sea.
“Cycling is such a popular sport now and Colwyn Bay is a spectacular setting for the finish and is so easy to get to from across North Wales and the North West that it is bound to bring in the crowds and be a major boost to the local economy.”
Rhos on Sea Cycling Club, which celebrates its 90th birthday this year, is aiming to get as many women on two wheels as possible to a special ride out on Sunday and their women’s organiser Sue Williams said: “This is great for all the cycling clubs in North Wales and particularly for women cyclists and we want to encourage as many women as possible to come on the day.
“Welsh cycling have given us the two-mile finishing straight and we’re going to have a big mass ride for women so anyone who wants to can turn up with their bikes at 12.30pm on Sunday, June 17, and join in.”
Mick Bennett, Race Director for organisers SweetSpot said: “It promises to be a thrilling finale to this year’s race between Dolgellau and Colwyn Bay.
“In addition to the stunning scenery on offer and the warm welcome the race will get from local residents, we are confident that this stage will provide a challenging test for the world’s best cyclists.”
A one-hour highlights programme of every stage will be broadcast daily on ITV4 and Eurosport and available on demand via the ITV Hub and Eurosport Player.