Women's Tour announces 2023 route with 'urgent' call for sponsors
Women’s Tour organiser SweetSpot has stated that the race is in "urgent" need of additional commercial income for the 2023 edition. The revelation came as the route of this year’s event was announced on Thursday.
After featuring six stages in recent years, the Women's Tour returns to a five-day format in 2023.
The race gets underway in Stratford-upon-Avon on June 7 and concludes with a circuit race in the centre of Birmingham on June 11, marking the most northerly finale in the history of the Women’s Tour.
The announcement of the race route doubled as a call for sponsors for the Women’s WorldTour event, with SweetSpot still searching for a title sponsor and other commercial partners.
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"Today’s route announcement comes as the race organisers have revealed that the race urgently requires additional commercial income for the 2023 edition," read a statement from the race organiser.
"As well as the title sponsorship of the event, three of the race’s four prestigious jersey classifications (leader, mountains, and best young rider) remain available, while individual stage partnership packages (including naming rights) have been launched for the first time for selected stages. The search for an auto partner to supply vehicles also continues."
The race was first held in 2014 as the Friends Life Women’s Tour, with Aviva, Ovo and AJ Bell following as title sponsors. Last year’s event took place without a title sponsor.
Cottages.com, Brother UK, Accurist and cycleGuard are among the race’s current backers, though the organisation expressed hope that "today’s route announcement will generate additional commercial interest in the race".
The 2023 Women’s Tour begins with a stage from Stratford-upon-Avon to Royal Leamington Spa, where Chloe Hosking and Sarah Roy were previous winners.
After stage 2 from Northampton to Ampthill, the toughest day of the race follows on stage 3, which brings the peloton through the North York Moors from Dalby Forest to Guisborough.
The penultimate stage links Coleshill and Derby before the grand finale in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.
"While it seems like only yesterday that we were crowning Elisa Longo Borghini as our 2022 champion following that dramatic finale in Oxford, it feels fantastic to unveil the stages for this year’s Women’s Tour," said race director Mick Bennett.
"Given the current economic climate, we have had to work harder than ever before to put together a race befitting of the world’s best teams and riders, so I must thank all of our stakeholders for their continued support of the event."