"Touriffic" turn out in Northants for climax of Aviva Women's Tour
Posted: Tue, 21 Jun 2016 13:30
Northamptonshire was a hive of yellow and pink on Sunday as we celebrated the third year hosting the Aviva Women's Tour.
This year we hosted the 5th and final stage, starting just outside the Guildhall in Northampton, travelling through the villages of Bugbrooke, Newnham, East Haddon and Naseby, before heading up to up to Desborough and finishing in Kettering market square.
As the teams were introduced to the crowds prior to the start of the race, school children were given the opportunity to be mascots on the stage with each of the teams. The students from St Patricks and Warmington in Corby were runners up in a competition to design a race jersey to present to the winner.
The crowds at the start in Northampton town centre created a fantastic buzz which was emulated throughout the duration of the route. They applauded the teams as they came on the stage with the biggest cheers for local riders Hannah and Alice Barnes, and race leader and fellow British rider, Lizzie Armitstead.
A competition to design the start flag for the tour was run across Secondary schools and was won by a pupil from Prince William School in Oundle. She won the opportunity to start the race with the Leader of Northampton Borough Council, Mary Markham, using the actual flag that she designed.
Once the race was underway, crowds flocked to various points along the route but the crowds at Newnham Hill created an amazing spectacle and got really close to the action.
Daventry and Kettering embraced the spirit of the Tour and decorated bikes in pink paint to celebrate the tour coming back to Northants. School children and shop owners joined in the fun and the bikes were on display at various positions along the route.
There were crowds 5 or 6 people deep along the finish straight in Kettering as Finnish rider Lepistö led the riders home. Flags and clap banners created loads of noise and celebration as the riders completed the fifth and final leg of the tour.
In the end Armitstead's overall winning margin was 11-seconds over Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, courtesy of three bonus seconds picked up at the day's opening Chain Reaction Cycle sprint. Armitstead also clinched the Adnams Best British Rider Jersey as the highest placed Brit.
The victory also moves Armitstead up to second in the standings of the UCI Women's WorldTour, behind her teammate Megan Guarnier.
"What a fantastic team performance it's been" said Armitstead, "We had quite a lot of pressure on us today with the team performing so well all week I couldn't let them down really so I've relieved and happy that I did it for them."
Lepisto was presented with a jersey designed by our competition winner from St Patricks school in Corby. A jersey was also presented to our winner as a memento of her achievement.
All in all, it was a fantastic day for everyone involved, a great spectacle for the County and hopefully the tour will come back to Northamptonshire again next year. Thank you for coming out to support if you did, we hope you had a fantastic time.