This article by John Stevenson originally appeared on

On his blog today, British Cycling president Brian Cookson confirmed that there will be a women’s stage race in the UK in 2014. Guy Elliott of SweetSpot is the man driving forward the initiative to bring a world-class women’s tour to the UK. He told us of his ambitions for the event and where the planning and preparation currently stands.

“There’s not a great deal to tell you,” says Guy Elliott over the phone from SweetSpot Group’s HQ in Weybridge, Surrey, and then goes on to talk enthusiastically for almost 30 minutes about his plans for a five-day women’s race in May 2014 and the likely shape and philosophy of the race.

What’s in a name?

The race will simply be called The Women’s Tour, says Elliot. It won’t be the Women’s Tour of Britain because British Cycling owns the rights to the name of the men’s tour, and the race he’s planning “is not a tour of Britain yet, but our ambition is to move it up to be a Tour of Britain.”

What Elliot and SweetSpot Group have in mind for the race’s first year, though, is a five-day event in East Anglia and the East Midlands. The vital element they believe they can bring is TV coverage.

“We have already been in discussion with TV and we are confident of having extensive coverage. We don’t want to say which station but we believe that will be a game-changer because we will have daily significant TV coverage.”

With coverage comes the kind of visibility you can sell to sponsors and to local councils hungry to make a favourable impression.

Receptive local authorities is one of the reasons for heading east, Elliott says. “It’s an area that has not been visited so frequently by the men’s Tour of Britain, but there’s a great appetite for cycling from the local councils. For example we get great support from Colchester for the Tour Series; last year the start of the Tour of Britain was in Ipswich.”

This region should also help keep the race interesting from a sporting point of view.

Elliott says: “We want to make sure that to start with the race is on flattish or undulating courses and in future years we will move towards more hilly region. We don’t want the race to be decided over one mountain with someone having five minutes lead.”

Click here to read the rest of the article.