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.

Ahead of this month’s historic La Course by Le Tour de France, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is joining forces with key partners including Tour de France organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) and UCI Women Road World Cup sponsor The Sufferfest, to launch the Women’s Cycling Week (WCW), from 20 to 27 July. The goal of the WCW is to grow the profile of women’s cycling at every level via a series of events that will take place throughout the month of July to get more girls and women riding. 

The WCW will include the following events:

  • Ride to Paris: A group of 25 amateur women cyclists from across the world will ride from Utrecht in Holland to Paris in just four days, arriving on 26 July the day before La Course by le Tour de France. Along the way they will be sharing their experiences on UCI website and social media;
  • Female elite riders will be setting the pace for women participants in the mass participation event L’Etape du Tour on July 20. In addition, every female rider registered to ride in L’Etape du Tour will receive a free ‘La Course by Le Tour de France’ branded cycling jersey from the UCI (;
  • Leading cycling training video company The Sufferfest has created a new training film - Halfiseasy - that contains content from women’s competitions which will be shown in gyms worldwide ();
  • Women riders from all over the world are invited to share their cycling experiences and show how they have pushed their boundaries via social media using the hashtags #owntheroad, #ownthetrail, #ownthejumps, #ownthetrack. Best tweets will be shared on @UCI_cycling and @UCIWomenCycling;
  • UCI President Brian Cookson will present medals to La Course by le Tour de France podium finishers.

UCI President Brian Cookson said:

“We are entering an historic moment for women’s cycling with La Course by Le Tour de France ­on July 27 which will attract a level of media focus and attention on women’s cycling never before seen in the history of the sport. It is critically important that as a sport we embrace this unique opportunity to further shine the light on women’s cycling, and get more girls and women riding bikes. This is exactly what the WCW is seeking to achieve.   

“Since I became UCI President nine months ago, we have made unprecedented investment in the funding of broadcast packages around the UCI Women Road World Cup. This followed the appointment of Tracey Gaudry as the UCI’s first Women Vice-president, and the establishment of the UCI’s first Women’s Commission. While we still have much to do, I believe that 2014 will be remembered as a breakout year for women’s cycling.”

UCI Vice-president Tracey Gaudry stated:

“The UCI is determined to maximise recognition of women in cycling as a sport and for participation. We are not alone with this ambition and have embraced that the rise of women’s cycling must involve everybody. There’s enormous diversity on the Women’s Commission with leaders representing women’s teams, sponsors, events, media, coaches and athletes. We'll be finalising our strategy at our next meeting in a couple of weeks in Paris, in conjunction with La Course by Le Tour de France.

“Our priorities can be achieved by working with, and supporting the initiatives of cycling stakeholders – such as La Course by le Tour de France by ASO. This outstanding event will showcase the strength, thrill and drama of women’s cycling to millions of viewers worldwide.”

Dutch champion Marianne Vos reacted:

“The sport has grown in the last few years and it is great to celebrate the achievement of women's cycling. During this dedicated week, I especially look forward to La Course and meeting the girls riding #RoadtripParis on the Champ Elysees. 

My dream is to make cycling more accessible to women. I want to take the best from both men’s and women’s cycling and use this to create a stage from which the dreams of every aspiring cyclist can be launched, whether they are young, old, fellow professionals or future talents.” 

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