THE BEST cyclists in the world will be racing through Carmarthenshire in just a few weeks’ time.
The county is in full preparation to host the final stage of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour – Britain’s leading women’s race.
The final stage takes place in Carmarthenshire on Saturday, June 15, starting at Carmarthen’s historic and recently refurbished Velodrome, and crossing the finish line at the new National Closed Road Circuit at Pembrey Country Park.
Amongst those taking to the roads will be defending OVO Energy Women’s Tour champion Coryn Rivera, alongside all four other previous winners of the event, including 2016 champion Lizzie Deignan and Marianne Vos – the most decorated rider in the history of the race, having won five stages and four jerseys since 2014.
Commonwealth cyclist Manon Lloyd, from Carmarthen, is also competing and will no doubt enjoy the support of a home crowd as she battles with her British teammates for Drops.
Carmarthenshire’s breath-taking scenery will set the cyclists some of the most challenging terrain of the entire 790 kilometre race, which takes place over six days from Monday June 10, starting in Suffolk.
Stage six covers 125.9km of Carmarthenshire’s terrain, racing from Carmarthen through to Bethlehem where cyclists will take on a gruelling SKODA Queen of the Mountains uphill sprint, onwards through the Black Mountains, and heading southwards through the Amman and Gwendraeth valleys before ending at Pembrey.
Launched in 2014 by SweetSpot Group, the OVO Energy Women’s Tour is widely regarded as the world’s leading international stage race for women. The race attracts 300,000 roadside spectators, in addition to a worldwide television and online audience of nearly five million people.
ITV4 will screen highlights from every stage of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour, with programmes broadcasting at 8pm in the UK and available on demand via the ITV Hub catch-up service.
Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “Just a few months after hosting the men’s Tour of Britain in September, the Women’s Tour is yet another fantastic opportunity to showcase Carmarthenshire across the world.
“We’re still counting the economic impact of the Tour of Britain, but we know that it pulled in more than £800,000 over a 48-hour period, and the ongoing spin-off of that will have a lasting effect.
“We hope our communities will come out in force to support the Women’s Tour – in particular Manon Lloyd – just as they did in September. It really does bring a unique atmosphere and gives local people and visitors a great spectacle right here on our doorsteps.”
Created by SweetSpot Group in 2014, the OVO Energy Women’s Tour is the UK’s first international stage race for women, bringing the world’s top riders to compete in Great Britain as a part of the UCI Women’s WorldTour.
In addition to its wider aims of promoting active and healthy lifestyles to women, the event has championed equality in sport, notably offering the same prize fund pro rata as the men’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain.
Last year’s Women’s Tour provided an £7.8 million economic boost to the UK economy.
Follow the OVO Energy Women’s Tour on Twitter (#OVOWT), Facebook, Instagram or via the event’s official website at womenstour.co.uk.
For information about stage six in Carmarthenshire on June 15, including route details, spectator information, tips on best viewing locations, places to stay, competitions and more, visit www.discovercarmarthenshire.com and www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales