Districts to play crucial role in international cycling event
Babergh and Mid Suffolk have today been announced as locations for the thrilling Sprints and challenging Queen of the Mountains climb of stage six of the Women’s Tour.
The world renowned cycling race is set to travel through Suffolk on Saturday October 9, when this year’s winner will be crowned in Felixstowe after a day of racing staring from Haverhill.
Plans are in place for the peloton to pass through Babergh and Mid Suffolk, with the districts set to host some of the toughest sections of the tour.
Long Melford and Needham Market have been chosen as this year’s stage six Sprint locations, following Long Melford having welcomed a Sprint in both the men’s Tour of Britain (2010) and the first edition of the Women’s Tour (2014), and Needham Market hosting a Sprint on the opening stage of the 2018 Women’s Tour.
Both Sprints will have bonus seconds up for grabs, meaning the 2021 Women’s Tour champion could ultimately be decided by what happens at Long Melford and Needham Market.
Babergh also has the honour of hosting one of stage six’s SKODA Queen of the Mountains climbs, with this taking place in Glemsford for the first time. Cyclists will tackle the challenge of Skate’s Hill in the village, which averages a 5.5% gradient of just over 500 metres up.
The last climb of the tour will then happen at Clopton Hill, after 113 kilometres of racing, where the final points towards the SKODA Queen of the Mountains jersey will be awarded.
Cllr Derek Davis, Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for communities, commented on the announcement:
“The Women’s Tour provides a fantastic opportunity for our communities to enjoy, and be inspired by, a world renowned sporting event as it passes through Babergh.
“It is an honour for our district to have been selected to host both the Sprints and Queen of the Mountains, which are undoubtedly some of the most exciting and nail-biting sections of the race.
“I hope that our residents will be out in full force to show their support for the riders and make it a truly memorable stage of this year’s tour.”
Cllr Harry Richardson, Mid Suffolk District Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said:
“I am absolutely delighted that Needham Market has been announced as home to the final Sprint of this year’s Women’s Tour.
“This will not only be thrilling for residents to watch, but the bonus seconds up for grabs will also ensure that Mid Suffolk plays an important role in deciding the 2021 overall race winner.
“I can’t wait to watch this challenging stage and would encourage everyone to join me in giving a warm welcome to some of the world’s top cyclists as they travel through our district.”
Women’s Tour Race Director, Mick Bennett, commented:
“It is great to publish the details of the Sprints and ŠKODA Queen of the Mountains for the Suffolk stage to complete all of the key information about the route. We well know how important the bonus seconds at the Sprints can be so these two locations will be ones to watch if things are tight in the overall standings going into Stage Six.”
Spectator information is available on the Women’s Tour website and a series of community engagement events will take place in Babergh and Mid Suffolk, details of which will be announced via the councils’ social media channels.
The race is also expected to be a significant boost for businesses in both districts, with Suffolk’s six previous stages delivering a net economic impact of more than £5.3m for the county’s economy. Local businesses can visit the Women’s Tour website to find out how to capitalise on the tour and the visitors this is expected to bring to the county.