Early evaluation of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour Stage 3 has shown that the event has built on 2016 with higher visitor figures, larger schools engagement and greater benefits to the Warwickshire economy among the headlines.
Ava Grimes, start flag designer and yr 4 pupil of St Benedict’s school, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council and Christine Ennew, Provost for the University of Warwick.
Warwickshire County Council, in partnership with the University of Warwick, successfully hosted the third stage of what has become the most prestigious women’s cycle race in Britain and one of the country’s largest free to view sporting events.
SweetSpot, organisers of the tour, has released its initial findings with headlines including the following:
An estimated 95,000 spectators lined the streets of Warwickshire to see the race, including an estimated 20,000 in Royal Leamington Spa (this is up from 75,000 overall and 15,000 in Stratford upon Avon in 2016).
An estimated 7,500 school pupils watch the race live, including 2,500 pupils in Atherstone.
312,000 watched the programming from Stage 3 on ITV4 (this figure does not include catch up, on demand viewers or vierwers on ITV.com).
The 2017 race achieved significantly increased overseas broadcast in more than 100 countries, including every country in Europe for the first time.
It is expected that the Economic impact from the stage to total more than £2,000,000 in net visitor expenditure across the country.
This shows that the Warwickshire Stage was a major highlight of not just this year’s tour but also the four years of the Women’s Tour to date.
The Organisers felt that Atherstone to Leamington Spa stage was one of the best that they had ever had in four years of the Women’s Tour in terms of racing, crowds, scenery and local delivery.
More riders followed the course after the competitors had passed than in 2016.
Crowds flocked to Atherstone in North Warwickshire to watch the race start at 10am on Friday 9 June and lined the streets of the market town as the riders left via Coleshill Road towards Ridge Lane and Birchley Heath.
En route to the finish on the Parade in Royal Leamington Spa, the Women’s Tour went through the heart of the world-class campus at the University of Warwick.
Mick Bennett, Race Director of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour, said: “We would like to extend our thanks to the people of Atherstone, Royal Leamington Spa and Warwickshire for the way that they embraced the OVO Energy Women’s Tour and their support along the route. This year’s Warwickshire stage was a tremendous success with feedback from the riders and teams being universally positive about the crowds and the route, and we are delighted that the hard work from all of the partners involved paid off in such a spectacular way.”
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “In hosting the Women’s Tour, our aims as a county council are to boost the local economy with the many tourists who come to Warwickshire from outside of the county; to showcase Warwickshire to a wider global audience and to put the county on the map as a world-class destination for tourism; and to generate interest in cycling as a healthy pastime, particularly among our younger residents. We are very confident that we achieved these goals in no small measure and this wonderful news from the race organisers supports that view.”
Prof Christine Ennew, Provost of the University of Warwick, said: “We were delighted to welcome the truly inspirational Women’s Tour back to the University of Warwick. As a university with a proven track record as a positive catalyst for social and economic progress in our region and beyond, the Women’s Tour provided a fresh and exciting challenge. Teams from across the Warwickshire community came together to not only provide logistical support but also encourage a new generation to engage with a dynamic, exciting sport and learn more about exceptional role models.
“We were delighted to work alongside and in partnership with Warwickshire County Council to host this inspirational event, with spectators from across all of our communities having the pleasure of witnessing world class athletes”.
SweetSpot also highlighted the work done in preparation for the tour, particularly the successful Guinness World Record attempt at Kenilworth School and Sixth Form in which 1,168 people from the school and other partners formed the largest unbroken human image of a bicycle, as evidence that Warwickshire had ‘gone the extra mile’ in promoting the event and the positive benefits of cycling to its residents.
Praise also went to the county’s highways team for the quality of the roads which were likened to a ‘billiards table’ by some riders.