SOME of the world’s best female cyclists were cheered on by locals as they raced through the Forest of Dean today (Wednesday, June 8) as part of the highly-anticipated Women’s Tour.
People lined the streets in towns and villages across the Forest to see the tour - which is the UK’s most prestigious women’s cycling race - pass through en route from Tewkesbury to Gloucester.
The Gloucestershire leg was Stage Three of the race, which began in Colchester on Monday (June 6), and was won by the Netherlands’ Lorena Wiebes of Team DSM.
Wiebes has now picked up back-to-back wins on the tour, having also secured first place in Stage 2 on Tuesday (June 7) in Harlow, and now holds both the yellow Leader’s Jersey and the Breast Cancer Now Points Jersey.
A rolling road closure - enforced by a convoy of police motorbikes and race vehicles - was in place for the event, which was backed by Gloucestershire County Council and ran between 11am and 2.05pm this afternoon.
This year is the first time that a stage of the tour - which is the women’s equivalent of the men’s Tour of Britain - was held in Gloucestershire.
The event is regarded as “one of, if not the” leading professional women’s stage races in the international calendar and is televised globally, including highlights on ITV4 each day.
The race reached Newent at around 11.50am, passing through Huntley, Mitcheldean, Drybrook and Ruardean, before the race’s first climb at Worrall Hill.
The cyclists then reached Coleford around 12.40pm, passing through Newland and Clearwell, Bream and Lydney at around 1pm, before heading to Whitecroft and Parkend.
A climb towards Speech House began at around 1.20pm, before passing through Cinderford with another climb at St White’s Road, Littledean and Westbury-on-Severn, and then heading towards Minsterworth and the finish line in Gloucester.
The British teams competing in the tour are Le Col - Wahoo, who are competing in the tour for a sixth time, and the Essex-based CAM S - Basso.
Stage One of the race, between Colchester and Bury St Edmunds on Monday (June 6), was won by France’s Clara Copponi, of FDJ Nouvelle - Aquitaine Futuroscope.
Highlights of the Gloucestershire stage will be shown on ITV4 tonight at 8pm.
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