Colchester will see the world’s top female cyclists race through its streets for Stage 5 of the AJ Bell Women’s Tour which gets underway next Friday 8 October.
A star-studded field featuring Tokyo 2020 Olympic medalists, world and national champions has just been announced. The AJ Bell Women’s Tour (Monday 4 – Saturday 9 October) is the first edition of Britain’s most prestigious women’s cycle race to take place in over two years.
Stage 5 will get underway at Colchester’s Northern Gateway Sports Park where competitors will warm-up on the new 1-mile cycle track, before the Mayor of Colchester, Cllr Robert Davidson, waves the starting flag.
The reigning road and time trial world champions – Elisa Balsamo (Valcar – Travel & Service) and Ellen van Dijk (Trek – Segafredo) respectively - will both compete in the six-day event, marking the first time this has happened since 2016.
Three of Balsamo’s predecessors as world champion are also set to be on the start line in Oxfordshire: Italian rider Marta Bastianelli (Alé BTC Ljubljana), Dutchwoman Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (SD Worx) and home favourite Lizzie Deignan.
Deignan (Trek Segafredo) is the race’s defending champion from 2019; she is also the only rider in AJ Bell Women’s Tour history to win the event twice. Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon SRAM Racing) and Amy Pieters (SD Worx), who completed the final podium two years ago, will also be in action.
The provisional start list also features Tokyo 2020 medalists Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek – Segafredo), Marlen Reusser (Alé BTC Ljubljana) and Megan Jastrab (Team DSM) and former stage winners Hannah Barnes (Canyon SRAM Racing), Christine Majerus (SD Worx) and Sarah Roy (Team BikeExchange).
Three British teams will be in action at the race. Drops – Le Col s/b TEMPUR. will compete in their fifth edition of the race; their line-up features Joss Lowden, who is set to tackle the UCI Hour Record on Thursday (30 September). This year’s Tour Series winners CAMS – Basso Bikes and AWOL O’Shea will make their debuts in the event, with the former led by Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Hayley Simmonds, who will be targeting the race’s first ever individual time trial, which takes place in Warwickshire on Wednesday (6 October).
The AJ Bell Women’s Tour is sponsored by AJ Bell, one of the UK’s leading online investment platforms, helping people invest for the long term via ISAs, pensions and general investment accounts. It has a rich history of supporting elite level sport including badminton, cricket, rugby, squash and triathlon, and recently sponsored the men’s AJ Bell Tour of Britain in September, won by Wout van Aert.
The Northern Gateway Sports Park will welcome spectators for the Women’s Tour from 9am and all are encouraged to arrive before 11am - the race begins at 11.30am.
The Sports Park is a short walk from Colchester’s Park & Ride which can be accessed from the town centre, railway station or hospital stop on the Northern Approach Road. For parking on the day, visitors to the Sports Park will be directed to use Colchester’s Park & Ride. The cost per car is £3 and you must enter the code 737944 for 'Park Only' on the MiPermit app.
Pictured: Kasia Niewiadoma (left) and Lizzie Deignan (centre). Image credit: SWpix.
Page last reviewed: 30 September 2021