AJ Bell Women's Tour. Flying the flag for Oxfordshire
The AJ Bell Women's Tour cyclists received a warm welcome from thousands of Oxfordshire residents and school children on Monday 4 October.
Even the race day flag was local. It was designed by Bicester's Glory Farm Primary School pupil Reuben Cooper (image below).
Enthusiastic residents and businesses ensured a colourful spectacle along the route, many creating themed window displays, such as the one shown below at Katharine House Hospice in Bicester.
Councillor Liz Leffman, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “The Women’s Tour has been a wonderful way to showcase our county. I hope the race has inspired even more people to exercise and keep fit. Hosting the prestigious event has been a great collaborative effort between the county council and our colleagues at Oxford City Council and the districts. I’m extremely grateful to residents, businesses, and local sponsors; many decorating sections of the route with flags and banners, and cheering on the competitors.”
The race gave residents of all ages a fun and exciting day to remember.
Councillor Ian Corkin, Deputy Leader of Cherwell District Council, said: “I was fortunate enough to experience the carnival atmosphere at the start in Bicester and the excitement as the cyclists raced for the line in Banbury. Very well done to the riders and all concerned, it was quite a spectacle!”
Councillor Helen Pighills, Cabinet Member for Healthy Communities at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “It was great to see so many people line the streets to watch the race in the Vale. At my vantage point in Abingdon, there was a large group of pupils with hand-made flags and signs who had come out with their teachers to catch a glimpse of the elite riders and who were very excited to be part of the Women's Tour experience. I'm sure many of them will be inspired to get on their bikes, having seen the pros in action, and I look forward to seeing even more people enjoy the Women’s Tour next year when the race returns to Oxfordshire for the final time."
Councillor Jemima Hunt, Oxford City Council Champion for Active Travel and Cycling, said: “Congratulations to everyone involved in making Oxfordshire’s leg of the Women’s Tour a fantastic success. Thanks to all the wonderful supporters along the route who ensured a real sense of excitement and community atmosphere. The chance to watch international female champions cycling through the streets of Oxford will, I hope, inspire more women and children to cycle to school, to work, or just for fun. We’re working hard to ensure everyone feels safe on the roads.”
Councillor Maggie Filipova-Rivers, Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: "This was a real treat for people in South Oxfordshire to have a chance to enjoy the Women's Tour for a second time. I'm sure that many of those who lined the route, particularly young children, will be inspired by what they saw and will want to take up cycling, which will be great for their health and wellbeing. Thank you to everyone involved in organising the race for ensuring such as smoothly run event."
Councillor Michele Mead, Leader of West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We are pleased that the AJ Bell Women’s Tour has passed through our district with a lot of interest, support and excitement from residents and local businesses. It is great to be getting back to normal and to see so many people supporting such a fantastic event. It was a pleasure to play host to the 100 plus inspiring riders and a reminder to us all as a district to continue to stay active.”
About the Women’s Tour
Created by SweetSpot Group in 2014, the 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 Tour of Britain.
The race, which has been won by the likes of Marianne Vos (2014), Lizzie Deignan (2016 and 2019) and Coryn Rivera (2018), attracts an annual roadside audience of 300,000, as well as over three million fans through linear and online platforms.
Marta Bastianelli won the Oxfordshire Stage on Monday 4 October 2021. She is pictured crossing the finish line in Banbury, below (image, courtesy of SWpix).
The Women's Tour will return to Oxfordshire in 2022.
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