Despite no live television as planned the first women’s Tour de Yorkshire was a huge success according to race winner Kirsten Wild and World Champion and hometown girl Lizzie Armitstead.
ITV4 were supposed to have live coverage of the entire women’s race, but technical problems with the relay plane meant that didn’t happen; but for Armitstead who was racing in her hometown of Otley says the event was a ‘dream’ come true.
The race also had equal prize money which was a big draw for the women competitors; and it was the Dutch rider Wild which took home the victory ahead of Wiggle High5’s Lucy Garner.
Speaking after the race, Wild said: “It was a great opportunity for women’s cycling and it has been really good to race here in front of enthusiastic crowds. There were fans every kilometre of the way.”
The next step for the organisers is too make next year’s event longer than one day; the men had three stages and if the women’s race could become equal to that it would be another huge step forward in the coverage of women’s racing.
Armitstead said starting a race in her hometown was such a ‘privilege’
Being able to ride in front of your hometown crowds is one thing; but to do it in the Rainbow Jersey is another. But for 27-year-old Armitstead she managed to do that this weekend.
Although she didn’t win, she did animate the race with an attack, but they got pulled back with 3km to go.
Speaking after the event, Armitstead said: “To be world champion and starting such a big race in my home town is a privilege. I’m very grateful.”
There were a lot of significant points for the women’s, equal prize money was one thing, but Armitstead alluded to the fact that the women should be racing similar kilometres than the men.
“But, for me, the fact that we’re racing a full race distance is equally important,” said a proud Armitstead.
The 27-year-old continued: “We do it across Europe all year, so for me that’s more important than the size of the prizes.”
With the huge success of the women’s Tour de Yorkshire, there is no doubt that the organisers will have to look at expanding the event for next year. The popularity of women’s cycling is going through the roof at the moment and it is only right the women get the coverage they deserve.