Feature: Alice Towers in Women’s Tour

The Women’s Tour starts on Monday and the youngest rider in the race will be 18 year old Alice Towers of Drops who will race her Ribble bike in the country’s biggest Women’s International race

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Feature: Alice Towers in Women’s Tour

After a season in European races, Alice Towers of Drops will race her Ribble bike in the country’s biggest Women’s International race, the Women’s Tour starting on Monday.

For Alice, who will be the youngest rider in the race, it has been a long season. Alice started racing in Belgium back in March and her second race back was a 1.Pro event, Nokere Koerse. Another big Belgian race Dwars door Vlannderen followed as did some proper hilly and tough World Tour races; Fleche Wallone and Leige-Bastogne-Leige. A Spanish stage race followed as did one in the Czech Republic and Italy. In amongst all that was the La Course by Le Tour de France World Tour event.

Being just 18 years old, it is quite an achievement for her to not only have raced all round Europe but to have finished most of them and had a top 10 (8th) in one. Lets not forget also that international travel is no walk in the park especially in these covid times so the next week will be much more comfortable for Alice as she races a World Tour stage race in her own country and on some roads she knows.

It will be her first time in the event as the last time the race was held (2019), Alice was still a junior. “It is a big race so it’s going to be really good to do” Alice says  when we spoke in the Cycle Division shop Alice has worked in before.

Alice saw the support the men’s Tour of Britain got a few weeks ago and admits it looked crazy. “I have never done as big a race as this in Britain so it will be really interesting to see what the vibes are like compared to the ones I’ve done abroad” Alice explains. “Looking at the support the Men’s Tour of Britain had was crazy so I don’t think us riders will be lacking support from the crowds!”

Asked will her race be just about learning or will she have other targets, Alice replied “I think I’ll be given a role to play in the race but personally, I just want to have a solid race. I have been training quite well for it and it would be good to finish off the year with a good performance.”

Alice will be racing the Women’s Tour with good friend Josie Nelson (right) who is also racing in Europe. Josie happens to be the second youngest rider in the Women’s Tour! They are pictured when they both raced for Cero Wheels/Cycle Division as juniors

Women’s racing is different to the men’s racing at that level. In the men’s Tour of Britain, and other pro races, the formula of a break going, the race being controlled and then the break being brought back is quite different to the way the Women race their races. In them, the teams don’t generally let the breaks go and usually, the only breaks that do go off the front, tend to be the ‘selections’ at the end with the riders going for the victory.

Alice told me it would be good to be in a breakaway out front and she wishes that this happened more often in Women’s races. Lets hope for her sake, that this is allowed to happen so she can get to show her colours out front the same way that many a British rider enjoys doing in the Men’s event. Talking about the route for the Women’s Tour, Alice says she has seen the parcour for a couple of stages. The first of them is stage 2 at Walsall where the riders will be doing laps of a 10km course before heading for the finish in Walsall.

“I have ridden the Walsall course which is interesting and it will be good for people to come and watch. The roads are quite open in places with some narrow sections.” The other stage she has seen is the course for the stage 3 Time Trial at Atherstone. “That stage is really technical and lumpy and many of the riders will be quite surprised by it. I was.”

“I’d really like to do a solid ride in the time trial even though I’m not expecting anything because the level is so high. It would also be good one if I got in a breakaway too if they let one go.”

Asked if after a season of racing in Europe, she is comfortable now in the peloton, Alice replied “the level of the world tour races is crazy, it is so high. I can get round them safely and this year I can tick that off and next year perhaps I can think about racing at the front a bit more. That’s the ambition”.

With the Women’s Tour being so important, Alice has made sure to make a special effort to prepare the best she can for the race. That’s included some motor pacing at race pace for the last hour of her training rides. We wish Alice and all the riders in the race a very special week as World Tour Women’s racing returns to British shores and fingers crossed riders like Alice get the opportunity to show themselves at the front of the races in front of the home crowds… if previous editions are anything to go by, the reception along the route will be huge!



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