World’s best women riders ready to hit top gear in Hemel Hempstead

The official launch of the opening stage of the Friends Life Women's Tour
The official launch of the opening stage of the Friends Life Women's Tour

A dozen of the world’s top-15 professional women’s cycling teams will in action in Hemel Hempstead in June as the second edition of the Friends Life Women’s Tour heads to Britain.

Led by the world’s number one team Rabo Liv – who won the 2014 Friends Life Women’s Tour with Marianne Vos – all of the world’s top-six trade teams will ride in this June’s event, which begins in Suffolk on Wednesday, June 17 and finishes in Hemel Hempstead on Sunday, June 21.

The Boels Dolmans, Wiggle Honda, Velocio SRAM and Orica AIS teams, plus debutantes Bigla Pro Cycling, will all take part in the five-day tour, which has daily highlights on ITV4.

The teams invited also boast all bar seven of the world’s top-50 riders ranked by the sport’s governing body, the UCI, as of their end of February rankings.

Commenting on the announcement, Mick Bennett, Race Director of organisers SweetSpot, said: “We have once again secured a world-class line-up of teams for the Friends Life Women’s Tour, which surpasses even that of our inaugural event in 2014.

“To have attracted so many of the world’s top teams to race in Britain shows the high regard in which the Friends Life Women’s Tour is already held; a regard which we will reward with another exciting and high-profile race this June.

We have once again secured a world-class line-up of teams for the Friends Life Women’s Tour.

Race director Mick Bennett

“Over the coming weeks and months we look forward to confirming many of the world-class riders that we know will be racing at the Friends Life Women’s Tour, giving cycling fans in the UK something to look forward to this June.”

In total seven teams will make their debut in the race, including the domestic Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International team of Dame Sarah Storey and Joanna Rowsell and the Dutch Liv Plantur squad of Lucy Garner.

Joining the professional teams, and also making their debuts, will be the national teams of Germany and the United States, both ranked in the top four nations in the world.

In total nine nations will be represented by teams, with British riders expected to be in the line-ups of many squads – not least the three home teams of Matrix Fitness, Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International and Wiggle Honda.