OVO Energy Women’s Tour professional cycling race, coming to Oxfordshire - Wednesday 12 June

Oxfordshire is expecting economic and health benefits from hosting the prestigious OVO Energy Women’s Tour professional cycling race, which will pedal through the county on Wednesday 12 June 2019.

Starting in Henley-on-Thames, stage three will traverse the Chilterns via Pishill to Watlington, before returning via the climb of Britwell Hill to Sonning Common and Goring.

Crossing the River Thames at Wallingford, the route will pass through Didcot, Harwell and Wantage, crossing the Vale of White Horse to Faringdon, before looping through the West Oxfordshire towns of Burford, Charlbury and finally Woodstock; the finishing line will be in the grounds of Blenheim Palace.

Download the location route timings here

Follow the route – fly-through here

Watch the video to see how the ‘rolling road closure’ system works. Traffic disruption will be kept to a minimum. See FAQs for further details.

You can also view the route below:

OVO Map route - HD

Answering your questions:

What is the OVO Energy Women’s Tour?

The OVO Energy Women’s Tour is the UK’s biggest and most prestigious bike race. A founder member of the UCI Women’s World Tour, the race attracts the world’s top cyclists – including Olympic and World Champions – to compete on British roads over five days each June.

How is Oxfordshire participating in the event?

A stage of the high-profile OVO Energy Women’s Tour has been secured for Oxfordshire by the county council, city council and four districts in a three-year deal with the race organisers SweetSpot.

When will the OVO Energy Women’s Tour pass through Oxfordshire?

Wednesday, 12 June 2019.

Oxfordshire will also host the event in 2020 and 2021.

Will the OVO Energy Women’s Tour result in road closures?

There will be a small number of road closures involving the areas around the start (Henley) and finish (Blenheim) locations. Some closures in Henley town centre will be in operation from 04:00 on 12 June to enable race preparations and for public safety. Traffic will be diverted on roads around the town centre.

Where can I find details about specific road closures?

These closures will be finalised well in advance of the race taking place and published on the spectator information pages of the race website. This will include how long the roads will be closed for. Signs will be placed on the public highway two weeks in advance, warning of these closures and will be advertised in the local press. There will be a ‘rolling road closure’ system along the route between the start and finish.

What is the 'rolling road closure' system?

This is where the race route, and junctions with access roads onto the route, are closed while the race passes through. The length of closure of the rolling road block depends upon how dispersed the riders are. Typically, the lead motorcycle instigating the closure is 15 minutes ahead of the lead rider. The closure then remains in place until all riders and race cars have passed through. The simplest advice is to look at the route of the race and avoid that road for about one hour either side of the predicted time of the race passing through.

Watch the video to see how the ‘rolling road closure’ system works.

Will there be additional parking available in the Henley area?

Yes. There will be additional parking at the start in Fairmile Field, just off the Fairmile on the right-hand side, as you leave Henley, going north/west on the A4130.

Will there be an entry fee for entering the grounds of Blenheim Palace?

Spectators will have free access to the grounds of Blenheim Palace from midday on Wednesday 12 June.

Note: there will still be an entry fee if you want to enter the garden or palace.

How much money will Oxfordshire County Council be committing to host the OVO Energy Women’s Tour?

The overall cost of hosting a stage of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour in 2019 is £175,000. This includes some additional costs for the start and finish locations as well as traffic management costs for the whole stage. This annual cost will be shared equally between the six local authorities.

This means Oxfordshire County Council has been asked to commit a budget of £30,000 to co-host this year’s event. We will share the costs equally with the four districts and the city council. A similar budget is anticipated to co-host the event in 2020, and again in 2021. Sponsorship is being sought to reduce these costs.

Who is paying for the policing cost of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour

Race organisers SweetSpot are paying for policing.

How can Oxfordshire County Council justify this expenditure?

The OVO Energy Women’s Tour presents an exciting opportunity to showcase the county, and to maximise the potential economic value. SweetSpot estimated that the economic benefits of last year's OVO Energy Women’s Tour was £7.7 million.

We expect cycling fans to visit Oxfordshire to watch the race, generating additional business for restaurants, bars, hotels, B&Bs and shops.

Tourism – showcasing Oxfordshire

Tourism is an important element of employment and economic prosperity for Oxfordshire. The media coverage and the attendance of people on the day of the event will have short, medium and long-term benefits for tourism in Oxfordshire.This will support businesses and employment.

The women’s tour achieves good media coverage at a local, national and international level. The 2018 tour recorded 1,240,000 viewers not including Catch Up, On Demand or ITV online viewers. There was extensive press, broadcast and social media exposure, including highlights on ITV4.

Schools and parishes – participation

Schools and cycling clubs along the route of the 2019 OVO Energy Women’s Tour can download fan packs here to help them get ready for this year’s race.

The event attracts large crowds and the route has been planned carefully to include parishes and larger market towns. We are co-ordinating and encouraging community involvement including schools, town and parish councils, charities and cycling clubs. Involvement in this event will create networks and relationships across the county that will support future partnership working. This supports our vision of ‘Thriving communities’.

Young women and girls – healthy living legacy

The Youth Sports Trust says there is a direct correlation between girls’ future life chances and the amount of physical activity they do in their younger years. A report from the Office of National Statistics, in 2018, showed that boys aged between eight and 15 years old spend almost twice as much time doing sports activities as girls of the same age. We will be looking to work with public health, schools and youth groups to maximise the legacy of this three-year deal with a focus on young women and girls.

Economic benefits

We expect cycling fans to visit Oxfordshire to watch the event, generating additional business for restaurants, bars, hotels, B&Bs and shops; showcasing the county to national and international audiences.

The economic benefits of hosting the women’s tour are analysed by SweetSpot for each stage. Their analysis shows clear and impressive gross value-added figures. The financial benefits are delivered through overnight stays, spending in the local areas and attraction of visitors from outside of the area. The direct economic benefit will then be further enhanced by showcasing Oxfordshire and by attracting new visitors and increasing tourism.


We are looking for sponsors for the Oxfordshire stage of the OVO Energy Women's Tour. There are different levels of involvement available, ranging from £50,000 to £1,000.

Download the sponsorship brochure here for further information.

Can I be a volunteer for the OVO Energy Women’s Tour?

Yes. Each year OVO Energy Women’s Tour volunteers, known as Race Makers, provide crucial support to race organisers, spectators, teams and riders. For further information on how to apply to be a volunteer, visit the website page:


Where can I find out more about the benefits of cycling?

Visit the website: https://www.letsride.co.uk/

What are the official social media addresses for the OVO Energy Women’s Tour?

Facebook – www.facebook.com/thewomenstour

Twitter – www.twitter.com/thewomenstour @thewomenstour

Twitter hashtag for the Oxfordshire stage of the race:


You can find additional information about the OVO Energy Women’s Tour here

OVO Oxfordshire Montage2