Oxfordshire communities and local businesses gearing up for OVO Energy Women’s Tour cycle race
Oxfordshire communities and local businesses are making plans to welcome the prestigious OVO Energy Women’s Tour cycle race, which will pass through the county on Wednesday 12 June.
A carnival atmosphere is expected along the route between Henley-on-Thames and Blenheim Palace, with cycling fans visiting Oxfordshire to watch the race.
Faringdon is planning to turn its town pink!
Charlbury’s streets will be festooned with bunting.
Henley-on-Thames businesses and residents are gearing up to welcome the riders, proud that the town is hosting the start of the prestigious event.
Oxfordshire councils are liaising with local businesses and communities along the route, encouraging them to join the fun and showcase their town or village, while generating additional business for restaurants, bars, hotels, B&Bs and shops.
Suggestions include encouraging shops and businesses to have ‘best dressed shop window’ competitions and cycling-themed displays.
A similar bike race stage in Warwickshire last year resulted in an economic boost of £2m for local businesses.
A colourful welcome can be created using bunting, or highly visible and identifiable props, such as decorated bikes on roundabouts. Schools, community groups and businesses can all get involved, creating a theme specific to the venue or area.
Designing flags or banners and cake baking are other ways to create civic pride and bring together local community celebrations.
Faringdon... turning the town pink!
Faringdon is planning to mark the race passing through its streets by turning their town pink! In line with the town’s quirky artistic heritage celebrating their Pink Pigeons and legendary Lord Berners, residents are encouraged to dress in pink, wave pink banners and flags, bake pink cakes and fly pink kites. People can even purchase a tame pink pigeon from the Faringdon Information Centre.
Sjoerd Vogt, from Farcycles - and Faringdon's Town Crier, said: “The OVO Energy Women’s Tour is the biggest event to hit Faringdon this century so naturally we want to celebrate. Our infant and junior schools will be cheering on the race and we want local people to think ‘Pink, Pink, Pink’ and get ready for the glorious 12th.”
Charlbury businesses are looking forward to another successful trading day, many having seen a boost in sales when the men’s race came through a few years ago. The town is promoting itself as a gateway to the Cotswolds; an ideal location for a cycling holiday.
Lauren Clark, Supervisor at the Charlbury Deli and Café, said: “When the men’s race came through Charlbury in 2017, we embraced it. It was a fantastic boost for business and we hope for the same from the women’s race.
“It will be exciting to be involved again and I am sure the whole town will benefit from the increase in visitors as well as the positive health and motivational messages."
Keen cyclist and town councillor Richard Fairhurst said: “Luckily for us it’s the Charlbury Festival that week so we will already have bunting out and will definitely be making the most of the race coming through the town.
“Local businesses did very well when the men’s race came through and will be hoping for another good day. We will also be promoting Charlbury as a gateway to the Cotswolds – a great place to base yourself for a cycling holiday or to start a day ride.”
Bix and Assendon Parish Council and Highmoor
Another Oxfordshire community preparing for the big day is Bix and Assendon Parish Council and Highmoor, where Clerk Jane Pryce said:
“There’s a real buzz. It’s not every day that a major national sporting event comes through our neighbourhood. We’re expecting residents to line the route on race day.”
There is excitement in Henley-on-Thames, where the race will start, with local businesses enthusiastically looking forward to race-day.
Jason Acock, one of the owners of Henley Cycles, said: “As a sponsor and business in Henley-on-Thames, we are delighted to be involved with the OVO Energy Women’s Tour.
“We hope this event will inspire others to take up cycling, either for leisure or as a competitive sport. That’s why we’re offering 10% off all cycling accessories for the whole of race day on Wednesday 12 June.”
The elite cyclists will race through 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 continue 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 in the closing kilometres.
Gabby Heycock, OVO Energy Women’s Tour Project Director (Oxfordshire), said: “We want this prestigious race to leave a legacy for the county; a lasting economic impact, and motivating people to exercise, get fit, and keep fit.
“We challenge local communities and businesses to support the race. Be creative, do something based on cycling, fitness or specific to your area. Make your village or town the most spectacular place out of the 100 miles the race will travel.”
About the OVO Energy Women’s Tour
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 World Tour.
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. The race will expand to six days for the first time in its history in 2019.
The race, which has been won by the likes of Marianne Vos (2014), Lizzie Deignan (2016) and Coryn Rivera (2018), attracts an annual roadside audience of 300,000, as well as over three million fans through linear and online platforms.
Schools and cycling clubs along the route of the 2019 OVO Energy Women’s Tour can download fan packs to help them get ready for this year’s race: https://www.womenstour.co.uk/fan-packs-now-available/
For further information about the event, visit the official website: www.womenstour.co.uk Oxfordshire is Stage 3.