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Women's Tour expands to six stages for 2019

Race adds on extra stage as it continues it quest to reduce gender inequality in professional cycling

Joe Robinson
21 Sep 2018

Keeping itself at the forefront of parity in professional cycling, the Ovo Energy Women's Tour has announced it will expand to six stages for the first time in its history. 

Announced by race organiser Sweetspot, the women's stage race around Britain will expand from five days to six as of 2019 while also remaining part of the UCI Women's WorldTour.

Dates and stage details for the 2019 event will be released in due course. 

Expansion to six days is just part of Sweetspot and Ovo Energy's pursuit to tackle gender inequality in cycling. Ovo Energy currently matches the prize money offered at the men's Tour of Britain to that of the Women's Tour, which doubled for 2018.

The 2018 edition of the race attracted some of the women's peloton's most established riders from 14 of the 15 top teams, including overall winner Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) and podium-finisher Marianne Vos (Waowdeals Pro Cycling). 

This latest announcement is definitely a step forward for women's cycling considering proposals to expand the race to seven days were rejected by British Cycling back in 2016. 

Race director, Mick Bennett, spoke on the expansion of the race commenting how this extra day will allow for a broader style of stages.  

'We are delighted to have been granted a sixth day of racing for the Ovo Energy Women’s Tour to build upon the success of the first five editions.

'Teams and riders have been asking us to extend the event and to broaden the range of stages, which the flexibility of a sixth day will enable us to do.'

Chief Executive of British Cycling, Julie Harrington, also commended on the move and its potential positive effect on women's cycling in the UK. 

'This is fantastic news, both for the event and for women’s cycling as a whole. We have been very open about our determination to close our sport’s historic gender gap, and this is yet another step towards that,' said Harrington.

'Our ambitious target to get one million more women on bikes by 2020 is well on schedule, and the increased opportunities for women and girls to watch the world’s best female riders racing on British roads can only help us towards that goal.'

The dates for the 2019 OVO Energy Women's Tour will be announced alongside the rest of the women's WorldTour calendar on Friday 28th September at the UCI World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria.