The second edition of the women’s tour was heralded as revolutionary, offering riders parity prize money and a full live UK domestic and international broadcast that was sadly cancelled on Saturday.
The broadcast transmission airplane assigned to the $96,882 women’s race was forced to make an emergency landing on Saturday morning due to a fault. Domestic channels cancelled scheduled coverage after the neutral zone where transmission was lost. International broadcasters were able to in addition show the final two kilometres of the race, which Kirsten Wild (Hitec Products) won in a bunch sprint.
“It’s frustrating obviously with the media coverage but the issue with the plane was one of safety and our first priority as organisers is for the safety of the riders, the safety of the crowd and the safety of the organising staff, and that includes the pilots in the transmission plane,” Verity said.
“I think you’ve got to focus on the positives. It’s been a tremendous day of celebration and a day of history in terms of the women’s race. There is no going back now in terms of women’s cycling and that revolution started here in Yorkshire. We want to do even more, and if we get the extra day for the race that we’ve asked for we’d love to do two days of women’s racing next year.”
Wild positioned herself perfectly in the headwind finish, powering off Ale Cipollini rival Marta Bastianelli’s wheel to take line honours ahead of Lucy Garner (Wiggle High5) and Floortje Mackaij (Liv-Plantur).
World champion Lizzie Armitstead was a toast of the 136.5km race, which started in her hometown of Otley under welcome sunshine.
She led the peloton out of Otley in what proved to be an aggressive start with an estimated 20-30 riders dropped in the opening 45km.
Armitstead also animated the business end of the rolling run to Doncaster in a three-person break that wasn’t captured until within the final three kilometres.
Armitstead (Great Britain) and Garner’s team-mate Leah Kirchmann had bridged across to Doris Schweizer (Cylance), who spent most of the day out the front following an apparent solo attack.
Transmission failures and wet weather aside, huge crowds still lined the roadside to watch the women’s race and the second stage of the men’s tour, which followed in the afternoon.
“Over a million people stood on the streets of Yorkshire today to watch a bike race and that is remarkable,” Verity said. “I’m really thrilled for all the villages and towns from Otley at the start and Doncaster at the finish as well.”