THE world’s best female cyclists will race through Worcestershire in the fourth stage of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour on Saturday, June 16.

Wychavon District, Worcester City and Worcestershire County councils will jointly host the penultimate stage of the race which is part of the UCI Women’s World Tour.

Details of the start in Wychavon and the route are to be confirmed.

It will finish in Worcester city centre which has hosted starts of the men’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain three times.

The stage will be dedicated to former Gloucestershire professional cyclist Sharon Laws who died last December aged 43 after battling with cancer.

The city council’s Lucy Hodgson said: “Worcester has a reputation as a great city for large scale sporting events and I have no doubt that thousands of people will line our streets to cheer on the world’s greatest women cyclists.

“I hope the tour will also inspire more of our residents to get healthy and active.”

Councillor Linda Robinson, leader of Wychavon, said: “We are thrilled the OVO Energy Women’s Tour is starting here.

"This is an exciting opportunity for us to showcase women’s cycling and highlight our wonderful district at the same time.

"To get the starting event is an incredible opportunity and we promise to give these athletes the best send off on their stage that we possibly can.”

Councillor Ken Pollock, cabinet member with responsibility for economy and infrastructure at the county council, said: “This is another great opportunity for Worcestershire to work with our partners in inviting professional cycling back to the county, thereby showcasing itself as a great host for important sports events.

"I’m sure our residents will welcome with open arms the women cyclists to the beautiful Worcestershire countryside and the stage will be a success for all involved. 

“We will be welcoming the tour just a month after Redditch plays host to the second round of the Tour Series, organised by the same company SweetSpot, and both events are a valuable boost to the economy of the county and both encourage our residents to follow healthy life styles.”

The tour attracts a world-class field with previous champions including Lizzie Deignan and Marianne Vos.

The county leg will cover around 130 kilometres and is likely to include the Snowshill climb at Broadway.

Race director Mick Bennett said: “It will be a tremendously picturesque route taking us through Broadway and Snowshill on the northern edge of the Cotswolds.

“These were roads that would have been familiar with our former Queen of the Mountains Sharon who lived and trained locally to the area.

“Like everyone we were deeply saddened by the loss of Sharon.

“She lit up the first two editions of the race and returned in 2017 to add her expert analysis to the ITV4 commentary, leaving a lasting impression on the event, and we would like to dedicate this stage to her.”