The UCI Women’s WorldTour leader has confirmed she will participate in the £50,000 ($96,882) one-day event that is being heralded as the most lucrative on the women’s race calendar.
Yorkshire native Armitstead was last year brutal in her criticism of the short 60km circuit race the inaugural edition comprised and refused to travel to it.
The 27-year-old has worked with organisers to determine the significantly expanded 135km route from Otley to Doncaster this season.
Armitstead will race with her national Great Britain squad, over Boels-Dolmans trade team, at the sponsored event, which will be broadcast live in what is another coup for race organisers.
“The Asda Tour de Yorkshire women’s race will be my first race in the UK in my world champion jersey and it’s an absolute dream to be starting in my home town,” she said.
The April 30 women’s race will commence with a ceremonial start from 8.15am local time and on the same course and day as the second stage of the men’s tour.
Prize money will be awarded from first through to 20th place with the title winner claiming £15,000 ($29,064). It’s a significant sum, especially given the £1000 ($1937) 2015 race victor Louise Mahé took home last season and compared to other events.
Women’s Tour of Flanders champion Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5) last year lamented cycling’s gender pay gap following her victory at the one-day title she claimed €1213 ($1854) from, compared to Alexander Kristoff’s €20,000 ($30,584) first prize bounty.
Welcome to Yorkshire race organiser Gary Verity said the procurement of title sponsor Asda, broadcast rights and prize money was a “hugely significant milestone” for women’s cycling.
“We’ve come good on our promise to expand the women’s race and rather than rest at bringing parity in terms of the men’s route and broadcast coverage, we’ve gone further to offer the world’s most lucrative prize fund,” Verity said.
“Together with our sponsors, we’re bringing women’s racing the respect it deserves and I can think of no better way to start our race in Otley than with our very own world champion on the start line.”
An international field is set to contest the race.