Talkingshop: Guy Elliott & a Women’s Stage race


Organisers of the Tour Series and Tour of Britain, Sweetspot, look at organising a Women’s only UCI five day stage race in Britain in 2014

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At the 2013 Tour of Britain launch on Thursday evening was an announcement by Guy Elliott that Sweetspot were in the early stages of organising a Women’s UCI Stage race in 2014 on British soil.


Sweetspot, which has done more for the Elite side of road racing in this country in the last decade and has helped change the look of the Elite peloton more than any other organisation, is hoping to build on the success of the country’s female riders and give them something to aim for.

Whilst the classic Women’s Bedford stage day race has in the past been an international, UCI races in this country, for both men and women are in short supply (non existent for women) and if there is any organisation capable of getting events off the ground, its Sweetspot who have done not only made the Tour of Britain for the men a success but also created a town centre series for both men and women that is the best series of events in the country.


Guy making his speech to the hundreds there for the Tour of Britain launch.

This year, Sweetspot is organising the Johnson Health tech Women’s Tour Seriesand will also have two Women’s races in central London, one at the end of the Tour of Britain and another in August on the London Ride weekend sponsored by the Pru.

It’s a natural evolution says Guy Elliott because here in Britain we have World Class women athletes but not the world class events for them to copmpete in. In sharp contrast to a decade ago when there was pretty much just Nicole Cooke leading the way in the international racing scene, now there is Lizzie Armitstead, Lucy Garner, Sharon Laws, Elinor Barker, Dani King, Joannna Rowsell, Emma Pooley and many many more and the market is crying out for a stage race.

“We think the next logical step is a five day stage race” says Elliott. “Not a Tour of Britain but an international stage race where we can put the best of the British against the continental riders and others from around the world. We have spoken discretely to a couple of teams, world class teams, and they were very enthusiastic”.

“We have also spoken to some councils who were also extremely enthusiastic and interestingly, following the launch tonight, I have already been approached by other councils who are asking ‘why can’t we come in on it as well’. There are challenges as people say that women’s sport events won’t pull the crowd so we’ll have to find a way around that. It is about time we stood up and did something for our girls.”


Action from the Bedford 2 Day in 2012. The race is a three day in 2013 but Sweetspot are looking to organise a five day UCI race and bring the best girls from around Europe here.

Guy Elliott has a long history in organising races and one of the most memorable series was the Junior National series events won by riders such as Mark Cavendish and Ian Stannard and a certain Edvald Boasson Hagen was also a rider in them. “We had the Solihull International Junior Road Race series which I was proud of and that helped us make a lot of international contacts” Guy explained.

“Then we (Guy and his team of volunteers) set up the DHL Sprint School where they took 120 school aged riders and put them with the track stars and this year I am focusing on grass roots events again by running three women’s handicap events in the West Midlands among eight grass roots events.”

“I think there is a future for no frills races and this is entirely separate from the Sweetspot work I am doing. Basically, riders will turn up, pay a fiver and race. In the West Midlands we have a lot of circuit races and we need to build on that.”


Possibly a turning point in Cav’s young career, victory in a Junior international organised by Guy Elliott and the people from Solihull CC.

Guy was then keen to explain why there won’t be a Women’s Tour of Britain. “People have asked us to run a women’s race ahead of the men’s race in the Tour of Britain but we can’t and that isn’t to do with us not wanting to but it being logistically impossible. The transfers for one would be impossible with the women’s shorter race distances so we’re looking at a five day stage race in one or two regions so can avoid the long transfers and the complex logistics of trying to run it with another big race.”

It is early days but as Guy said on stage at the launch, it really is a case if it people think it can’t be done, give it to Sweetspot who will make it happen just like they have the other events they have been involved in including the Tour de France visit in 2007.

As it’s a UCI race, Sweetspot have already been to see British Cycling. “We have told British Cycling and told them its early doors. We spoke to Jonny Clay at BC and he was very enthusiastic but we need to convince both BC and the UCI that we are good enough to run one. I think most people would acknowledge that we probably are!”

Above all says Guy, “we owe it to the women riders in the world and Britain especially to do this”… Watch this space …


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