Around 20 of the world’s elite cycling teams will take part in the inaugural Women’s Tour of Scotland in August.
It is a three-day, three-stage event, and has initially been given a place on the UCI world racing calendar for the next five years. It will be the first time a women’s race on the UCI circuit doesn’t piggy-back on the coattails of a men’s race. It is also the first time that, from the outset, the prize money has matched that for an equivalent men’s race.
“When I first began racing there were hardly any girls cycling and I would be racing against boys,” said Eileen Roe, the Scottish Commonwealth Games athlete, former British National Circuit Race Champion and Tour Ambassador.
“To have a race like this will mean young girls can be inspired to get out on a bike.”
The first stage of the 350-mile race will get underway on Friday, August 9, with the world’s best setting off from Dundee’s iconic waterfront area.
They will cross the Tay Road Bridge and travel through Fife and finish in Pittencrief Park, Dunfermline.
The following day, the second stage will depart from Glasgow’s George Square and wind its way through the Trossachs before culminating in the centre of Perth.
The final day of racing will start and finish in Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park but with a route that takes the riders down to the Borders and back up through Midlothian.
The third stage will include three testing Queen of the Mountain climbs which could make the final 18kms of the Tour decisive.
Olympic and Commonwealth road and track a cyclist Katie Archibald helped launch the event today and said: “This is a great route for a race and the sheer calibre of teams and riders who will be racing the first Women’s Tour of Scotland is really exciting - I’m proud to be involved with the Tour and I really hope more women and girls will be inspired to start cycling as a result.”
The organisers hope to encourage greater interest and participation in the sport and each start and finish site will feature family activation zones to get people involved. There will be a free family fun day at Holyrood Park on the Sunday where amateurs, enthusiasts and charity fundraisers and have the opportunity to ride the route of the final stage.