Residents between Bicester, Oxford, Abingdon and Banbury will now be able to pick their spot, ready to cheer on elite riders when this year’s Women’s Tour professional cycling race comes to Oxfordshire.

The race will kick-off on Monday, October 4, from Bicester’s Sheep Street where around100 professional riders will complete a short northern loop, passing secondary school students at The Cooper School, before heading south past Graven Hill to Islip and on to Oxford.

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The group will then sweep past the John Radcliffe Hospital and into south Oxfordshire via Blackbird Leys before reaching its southernmost point passing the Culham Science Centre and heading north through Abingdon, Eynsham, and past Woodstock.

The cyclists will then pass through Bloxham before arriving in Banbury for the first time and head back out to complete a short loop of Hook Norton and Sibford Ferris.

thisisoxfordshire: Riders as they passed through Woodstock

Returning to Banbury, they will pass the Cross and the Fine Lady statue, with a sprint to the line expected on South Bar Street.

Councillor Liz Leffman, leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “What a fantastic way to showcase our wonderful county to the world. I’m confident this event will bring economic benefits to our communities.

"I also hope the race will inspire even more people to exercise and take to two wheels, the healthy transport option.

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"Hosting the prestigious race is a great collaborative effort between the county council and our colleagues at Cherwell, Oxford City, Vale of White Horse, South Oxfordshire, and West Oxfordshire.”

Councillor Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council’s cycling champion, said: “We want this prestigious race to leave a legacy for the county; not only a lasting economic impact, but by motivating people to be more active and improve their health.

"If you’re travelling to a vantage point, why not cycle or walk? Leave the car at home for at least some of your journey and get some exercise as a spectator.”

This is the second year that Oxfordshire will host the Women’s Tour; part of a three-year commitment that began in 2019.

The 2020 race was postponed to this year and different routes are planned each year to showcase the county’s diversity to a national and international audience.

Oxfordshire residents have called for sweeps of the roads where the race will take place in the past to check for potholes, after a rider crashed out in 2019, due to a poor road surface.

Economic and health benefits from hosting the prestigious event are expected and highlights of the race will be screened on ITV4.

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