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The stars of women’s elite professional road cycling battle it out every year on the UCI Women’s World Tour. The 2017 UCI Women’s World Tour will mark the 2nd edition of this great worldwide cycling tour and for the 2017 season, the calendar will consist of 21 races, up from 17 in 2016.
We asked Jo Rowsell Shand about her favourite events. Jo is a multi- medal winning track and road cyclist and an ambassador for Sports Tours International.
After getting into cycling relatively late Jo won junior national titles and she represented Great Britain at the junior World Championships in only her second year of racing. After moving from London to Manchester to be a full time cyclist Jo won her first World Title in the women’s Team Pursuit within 9 months. A series of setbacks throughout 2010 put Jo’s place on Team GB at a home Olympic Games in jeopardy as she subsequently suffered a bad year in 2011, but she battled back to become World Champion, World Record holder and Olympic Champion in 2012. After the London Olympics Jo focused more on individual events and in 2014 completed the World Championships and Commonwealth Games double with gold medals at both events in the Individual Pursuit that year. In 2016 Jo made Team GB again for the Rio Olympics but this time the team went into the Olympics as the underdogs having not won the World Title that year. However the team blew the competition away to take a gold medal again and 3 new World Records in the process.
We are very pleased that Jo will ride the 2017 Etape du Tour with Sports Tours International. You can also join Jo during our trip to the 3 Alpine stages of the Tour de France in Serre Chevalier featuring ‘La Course by Le Tour de France’.
The 2017 cycling season sees Sports Tours International’s best ever selection of cycling events and VIP hospitality access options. From fully organised tours with VIP access included to doing your own thing and just buying the tickets, we have it all covered. Have a look at our race review below, by Jo Rowsell Shand, to see what’s available.
You can’t beat the excitement of a bike race, either as a cyclist or as a spectator, and this year there are so many fantastic opportunities to watch some of the biggest women’s races in the World taking place on the same iconic courses as the men’s equivalents. Women’s road racing is well established with some extremely exciting riders vying for the top step of the podium, as well as overall honours in the season long Women’s World Tour. You will be inspired by the professionalism and talent of the top female riders in the World who race aggressively from start to finish, their skill over the challenging terrain, and the fascinating tactics of the top teams. These brilliant packages allow you to experience the thrills and spills of both a world class men’s and women’s race at the same location. Two great races all in one trip! Perfect for all cycling fans who want to get a taste of the whole sport and motivate both their sons and daughters or partner to get on their bikes.
Below you will find a fantastic selection of VIP access and hospitality experiences to enjoy 8 races on the 2017 women’s world tour. There is no need to stand by the road side, stretching for a glance of the riders; VIP access and hospitality experiences will take you to the heart of the action.
One of the first major races of the year on the UCI Women’s World Tour calendar is the Strade Bianche in Tuscany, Italy (4th March). In 2016 World champion Lizzie Armitstead (now Diegnan) proudly displayed her rainbow stripes as she soloed across the finish line in Siena’s Piazza del Campo to win.
The Strade Bianche weekend takes place in and around Siena, Tuscany on the famed ‘Sterrati’ or white gravel roads. Amateurs have the option to ride the routes on the Sunday and the men’s and women’s elite races take place on the Saturday.
VIP options include: a day on the race course in an official car, start and finish hospitality and even a helicopter flight! More information here: Strade Bianche
In April the second event of the Women’s World Tour and arguably the biggest and most prestigious one day race on the WWT calendar, the Women’s Tour of Flanders takes place on 2nd April.
The ‘Ronde van Vlaanderen’ is a massively popular event in Belgium. Huge crowds turn out to see the heroes of cycling battle it out for the win. The Women’s Tour of Flanders starts and finishes in Oudenaarde near Ghent. You can be there too and our VIP-formulas allow you to be a race insider throughout the day. The Muur van Geraardsbergen will feature on the course again. More information can be found here
With the announcement of the 2017 Women’s Amstel Gold race and the 2017 Women’s Liege Bastogne Liege, the UCI Women’s World Tour will also be tackling the famous Amstel-Flèche-Liège racing sequence in April 2017. The week comprises Women’s Amstel Gold race (16th April) with the Women’s Fleche Wallone mid-week on the Wednesday (19th April) before Women’s Liege Bastogne Liege (23rd April).
The 10 day fully supported Ardennes Classics tour lets you ride and watch all these events.
For the Women’s Amstel Gold Race you can book one of the hospitality options and see 10 LIVE race passages. You can have a VIP breakfast and walk over to see the build up and the start in Maastricht from up close before taking the train across to Valkenburg (1o minute journey) for an afternoon filled with food and drink and a close view of the finish line where the riders will come past several times. More information here
The Women’s Fleche Wallone is a well-established event on the women’s calendar with previous British wins from Nicole Cooke in 2003, 2005 & 2006 and Emma Pooley in 2010. It finishes atop the Mur de Huy which is 1.3kms long with an average of 9.6% and maximum of 26%!! The Mur is the ‘place to be’ to watch all the action and the outcome of this race and here you can enjoy exclusive hospitality. With the 2 passages of the Women’s race and the 3 passages of the men’s race, you will be at the heart of all the action. As a rider this was my favourite race of the year because of the fabulous atmosphere and encouragement from the crowds. More information here
This year will be the very first edition of the Women’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège race on 23rd April and will cover a 135.5-km route setting off from Bastogne with a finish in Ans, near Liege where there will be the opportunity to enjoy hospitality More information here
All these events provide an excellent opportunity to view both women’s and men’s races on the same day in the same location, resulting in more LIVE race viewing opportunities.
The Tour de France takes place between 1st – 23rd July this year and it features a start in Dusseldorf and a visit to every major mountain range; Vosges, Jura, Pyrenees, Massif Central and 2 visits to the Alps. Part of the route of Stage 18 between Briancon and the Col d’Izoard will also be used for La Course by Le Tour de France (20th July) women’s race. The women start at 10.00 from Briancon and instead of tackling the Col du Vars, they will go straight up the Col d’Izoard.
Previously held in Paris on the Champs Elysees ahead of the men’s finale, this will be the first time the event takes place in the mountains. The riders of the women’s peloton will battle it out before the men’s race comes through and you can see both! More info here: 3 nights in the Serre Chevalier Valley
Just ahead of the arrival of the 2017 Tour de France in Serre Chevalier, the 2017 Etape du Tour takes place in Briancon on Sunday 16th July. This is your opportunity to ride the stage from Briancon to the Col d’Izoard on 100% closed roads. If you would like to ride the Etape du Tour, there is the option to join the 14th July for the 3 night Etape weekend and then to stay an additional 3 nights to take in the Tour de France stages (which is what I will be doing!) meaning a whole week in the Alps. More information on travel and support packages for the Etape du Tour can be found here
The Prudential RideLondon Classique for elite women takes place on 29th July on an exciting 5.5 mile circuit in Central London which in 2016 was won by Kirsten Wild of the Netherlands. The Classique boasts a 100,000 Euro prize pot making it the richest race in the history of women’s cycling and a hotly contested event by the teams! This proceeds the first British World Tour event for men, the Ride London-Surrey Classic, which will take place on 30th July.
The final Grand Tour of the year, the Vuelta a España (19th August – 10th September) will once again host the best female riders in the World in Madrid for the 3rd edition of the Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta (10th September). The race, takes place on a 85.5km route through the heart of Madrid (15 laps of the 5,7km circuit). The Belgian rider Jolien D’Hoore (Wiggle) beat her teammate, the Australian Chloe Hosking, and the Italian from the Ale-Cipollini team, Marta Bastianelli, in a sprint to the finish-line in 2016.
Sports Tours offer a fantastic 4 star hotel in Madrid for 1, 2 or 3 nights within walking distance of the Paseo del Prado with the option to buy hospitality at the finish from where you will be able to see both the Women’s and the Men’s races. More information here
Thanks for reading, and hope you enjoy some exciting bike races this year!
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