Monday, February 27, 2017

Following the success of the 2014 Friends Life Women's Tour, Tendring will welcome the return of the internationally acclaimed women's stage race, hosting Stage Two of the 2015 Tour in conjunction with Braintree.

Thursday 18 June will see almost 100 of the world's top riders racing across Essex from the start in Braintree to the finish on Clacton's Marine Parade, which saw a victorious Marianne Vos last May.

While Tendring and Clacton have welcomed the Friends Life Women's Tour before, it will be the first time the race has visited Braintree, almost a year on from the district having welcomed the Tour de France on its way from Cambridge to London.

Cllr Jo Beavis, Cabinet Member for People and Participation at Braintree District Council said;

"The Tour De France put Braintree on the map for cycling, and some six months later we are still seeing hundreds of visitors coming to our district to enjoy the fantastic scenery and great rides that rural Essex has to offer. 

 "It is very rare that you have the opportunity to see elite athletes in action, and so it is a real honour that following the success of Le Tour we have been selected to welcome this year's Friends Life Women's Tour, in which we will see some of the world's best female riders competing in what is one of the biggest races in the world. I am sure the residents of Braintree, Halstead and the villages it will pass through will be out in force for what will be a fantastic spectacle.”

Mick Page, Leader of Tendring District Council, said the Council is delighted to be able to welcome the Friends Life Women's Tour back to Tendring;

"We had the great honour and privilege of hosting two stages last time around and it was a fantastic couple of days where our residents and visitors got the chance to see the world's top women riders in action close-up,” he said.

"The event generated a great deal of interest and excitement all round and we immediately announced that we were determined to be involved again in 2015. I and many others are already looking forward to June 18 and the boost it will give our District.”

In 2014 in addition to the stage finish in Clacton, Tendring also played host to the start of the final stage from Harwich, taking place alongside the Tour de Tendring sportive.

The second edition of the Friends Life Women's Tour takes place from Wednesday 17 – Sunday 21 June, again taking place over five stages with daily highlights on ITV4.  Following a team presentation event in Bury St Edmunds on the evening of Tuesday 16 June, Stage One starts from the town's Angel Hill the following morning, heading across Suffolk to finish at Aldeburgh on the Suffolk Coast. Stage 4 was announced earlier this week with the stage starting in Waltham Cross and finishing in Stevenage.

Commenting on the announcement, Friends Life Women's Tour Race Director Mick Bennett said;

"We are pleased to be able to return to Tendring after the success of last year's visit, but also to encompass a new venue and area of Essex and we're looking forward to visiting Braintree with the race.  Having the opening two stages close together will be beneficial for spectators, and we hope that many can take this opportunity to see the world's top riders in action twice.” 

Further details on the final stage of the 2015 Friends Life Women's Tour will be announced in the coming weeks.  The full list of 16 teams for the Friends Life Women's Tour will be confirmed during the Spring, joining the already announced teams of Matrix Fitness and debutants Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International.

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