Paris-Roubaix Femme. The Women’s Tour of Britain takes place this week without any live coverage.
The Women’s Tour of Britain, now named the AJ Bell Women’s Tour has returned to the streets for the first time in two years due to the Covid pandemic.
The Tour was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. It was fully cancelled in 2020 and was postponed in 2021.
It usually takes place in June rather than at the end of the season, but is this year running from Monday 4 October to Sunday 9 October 2021. In 2023 it is scheduled to take place in its usual month of June.
Defending champion, Lizzie Deignan is racing for Trek-Segafredo and has got back on her bike just two days after the first ever Paris-Roubaix Femmes.
Deignan’s success at the 2019 Women’s Tour was her first win since returning from her career break to have a baby.
Who won the first stage of the Women’s Tour 2021?
The first stage of the Women’s Tour raced from Bicester to Banbury and was won by Marta Bastianelli, in what was her first-ever AJ Bell women’s Tour stage victory.
Following a perfectly-timed sprint finish, The Italian managed to pass Chloe Hosking (Trek-Segafredo) and Clara Copponi (FDJ Nouvelle-Acquitaine Futuroscope) to take the race’s first leader’s jersey.
2019’s Champion, Deignan, finished the first stage in 40th place while the highest British was Hannah Barnes who came in at sixth.
Who won the second stage of the Women’s Tour 2021?
Stage two of the Women’s Tour raced in Walsall and was won by the Dutch cyclist Amy Pieters (SD Worx).
Pieters claimer her fourth AJ Bell Women’s Tour stage victory of her career, however it is debutante Clara Copponi who has moved into the race lead and takes the jersey off of Bastianelli.
British rider Pfeiffer Georgi (Team DSM) came in to take fifth place and won herself the top Brit of the day.
Copponi and Pieters are currently level on time, and there are only six others who are within 10 seconds of the race lead going into Wednesday’s individual time trial in Ahterstone, North Warwickshire.
Can I watch the Women’s Tour 2021 live?
Unfortunately there will not be the promised live television coverage for the six stage Women’s Tour of Britain.
In February 2021, organisers of the race, Sweetspot, announced a supposedly fantastic deal with Eurosport and GCN to offer live coverage for the women’s stage race for the first time ever. This has however fallen through.
All women’s WorldTour races are required to have at least 45 minutes of live coverage and the lack of this for the Tour of Britain threatens the race’s elite status.
This year Giro Rosa - the women’s Giro D’Italia - was controversially stripped of its WorldTour status as it failed to produce any live images during the tour in 2020.
Sweetspot released a statement attempting to defend their decision saying “This has been the hardest time in the race’s existence and provided challenges even greater than when we created and established the Women’s Tour in 2014.
As a result of commercial realities, we will not be able to expand the coverage of the Women’s Tour in 2021 to include a live broadcast.”
Are there highlights for the Women’s Tour of Britain 2021?
There are highlights for the most popular races on the women’s calendar on ITV4 at 9pm every night.
Sweetspot announced in their statement: “We will continue to have a fantastic free-to-air nightly highlights programme in the UK on ITV4 and distributed internationally by Eurosport GCN, and to share content from the race across our website and social media channels.”
What is the prize money for the Women’s Tour of Britain 2021?
The Women’s Tour of Britain used to be one of the very few tours and competitions where the prize money was equal to men’s Tour of Britain.
However, this has also changed for 2021 due to the departure of a previous sponsor, OVO Energy.
The total prize pot for the Women’s Tour is now £32,000 compared with £86,000 for the men’s Tour of Britain, a reduction of over £50,000.
It will be the lack of live television coverage that will still come under most scrutiny as the men’s race did not face any similar issues and was able to be broadcast live.
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