To kick off my first blog for ŠKODA UK, whom I have recently partnered with to try to bring you some interesting insight and content over the course of this summer, I thought I would give a short preview of the upcoming OVO Energy Women’s Tour.

The OVO Energy Women’s Tour spans five days, careering through hundreds of different towns and villages across much of the British Isles. Each stage adds a different dimension and from the relentless lanes of the Peak District, to the technical circuit on world-famous Regents Street, the peloton will face an incredibly diverse set of challenges.

So below you will find a little insight into what I think will await the peloton during the five days of racing! 

Stage 1 07/06/2017 | Daventry - Kettering | 147.5km

Northamptonshire has been committed to the OVO Energy Women’s Tour since its very first year, when they held the opening stage of the race. As my home county, I am thrilled that the area has decided to hold another stage this year and I am sure it will be a great way to start the race.

This may look a relatively flat day, however with fresh and excited legs filling the bunch, we could see a lot of attacking during the day. The second ŠKODA QOM will be the main obstacle of the day, however since we raced up the climb in the 2015 edition, many riders will know what to expect. With the climb being 60km’s from the finish, I don’t believe a deciding move will slip away, but some damage could definitely be done if a few riders have the ŠKODA QOM jersey in mind. The finish in Kettering is the same as the previous two editions so again team’s will know the roads and specifically, how important it is to be in a good position going into the final kilometers.

I am really looking forward to the opening stage and racing on home roads. It is always special to have all the support out on the road, but all the more so when it is from family and friends that don't get to see me race very often. I hope I can give them something good to cheer for!

Stage 2 08/06/2017 | Stoke-On-Trent Stage | 144.5km

Stage two will be the second time that the Women’s Tour will have come to Stoke-on-Trent after hosting a stage finish in 2016. This year will see Stoke-on-Trent host both the start and the finish of the stage so hopefully it will be a great day of racing for the locals to watch.

The first 80km’s of the stage aren’t too daunting, however there looks to be a few potential launch pads for a small breakaway to go away and get a respectable gap in the closing kilometers, especially if the composition of the riders and teams is favorable.

Gun Hill, which comes 25km’s from the finish, could be the first opportunity for the general classification riders to show their faces and test the water. The sprinters and their teams will have to get their chase organised as soon as possible over the top of the climb so they can reduce the gap and stay in contention for the final. And with a technical last few minutes of the race sure to disrupt chase efforts by lining out the bunch, this stage could really come down to the wire!

Stage 3 09/06/2017 | Atherstone - Royal Leamington Spa | 151km

The stage is relatively flat, so I believe it will be a large group coming to the finish line to fight it out for the win, especially if we have seen some fireworks yesterday and there are some tired legs in the bunch. However, with both the ŠKODA QOM's coming close together in the final 40km’s, this stage could easily fall in to the hands of the opportunists of the bunch.

Stage 4 10/06/2017 | Chesterfield & Derbyshire | 123km

Stage 4 of this year’s OVO Energy Women’s Tour will take us through the beautiful Peak District.  If the general classification is still tight coming in to today’s stage, then these roads will provide the perfect terrain for teams to be aggressive and blow the race to bits. 

The whole day is lumpy, with the majority of the climbing coming in the first half of the race, which could make for some very tired bodies coming into the final kilometers. I predict there will be small groups coming to the line with only a number of riders contesting the sprint in Chesterfield. Look for your OVO Energy Women’s Tour winner to be crowned today, with ‘only’ the flat central London criterium left tomorrow.

Stage 5 11/06/2017 | The London Stage | 88.2km

Starting and finishing in Regent Street, the race will take on 14 laps of a deceptively hard 6.2km circuit. The crowds are always great racing in central London and the circuit will give them the perfect opportunity to see the peloton race past numerous times. The circuit is technical with many corners, some tight hairpins and some fast straights, meaning we will likely see one big final fast and furious bunch sprint to round off a fantastic week of racing around the UK. 

The OVO Energy Women's Tour will start on Wednesday 7 June and finish in London on Sunday 11th June. The Canyon//SRAM team roster will be myself, Lisa Brennauer (GER), Trixi Worrack(GER), Alena Amialiusik(BLR), Tiffany Cromwell(AUS) and Italian road champion Elena Cecchini.

The OVO Energy General Classification - first place on general classification

The Wiggle Points jersey – the rider with the most points from each stage finish. 

The ŠKODA Queen of the Mountains jersey (QoM) – the rider with the most points from 2 classified climbs per stage. 

The Eisberg Sprints jersey – the rider with the most points from 2 intermediate sprints per stage. 

The Adnams Best British Rider jersey – Best British rider on general classification.