Women’s Tour launches crowdfunding campaign to ensure 2023 race goes ahead

    Crowds line the streets to catch a glimpse of riders passing by on Stage 6 of the 2022 Women's Tour.
Crowds line the streets to catch a glimpse of riders passing by on Stage 6 of the 2022 Women’s Tour.

Women’s tour The company rushed to sponsors last week as it has yet to secure the funds it needs to host the 2023 race, and now it is also turning to crowdfunding to try to fill the gap.

The British race, which was at the forefront of the move to prize parity in 2018 with the backing of then-title sponsor OVO Energy, faced a series of financial challenges with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result, the prize money was reduced when the Women’s Tour returned after a year-long absence in 2021, and in 2022 it successfully launched an appeal to help fund live TV coverage, now a requirement for all Women’s WorldTour races.

Scheduled for June 7-11, the 2023 race is backed by, Brother UK, Accurist and cycleGuard. However, SKODA, which last year was announced as a partner until 2024, is no longer participating and more sponsorship spots are yet to be filled. These include four jersey classifications and partner packages for individual stages, including naming rights on certain days.

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Organizer SweetSpot has announced that it is seeking funds to help cover “ever-rising staging costs” as well as a shortfall in sponsorship revenue for the women’s tour, which shortened the stage this year to make it a five-day event.

“We have seen fans make a significant commercial and emotional impact on elite cycling events in similar campaigns,” said Nick Bull, PR and Digital Manager for Women’s Tour. “After we were inundated with messages last week from people wanting to show their support for the race, launching a crowdfunding campaign seemed like the logical thing to do.”

The organizers added that they hope crowdfunding campaign will generate additional commercial interest in the race, which was last year won by Elisha Long Borghini as well as twice Marianne Vos and Lizzy Deignan on the winners list.

Supporters who donate from £5 will be named on a wall of heroes that will be displayed at every stage of the start and finish of the 2023 race, as well as printed in the race’s official road guide. In less than a day, £2,831 of the planned £100,000 was raised. Donations will be returned if the race does not take place.

It’s not the only UK competition struggling this year: the National Road Series has lost two events for men and one for women, while SweetSpot announced last month that the Tour Series is a team collection of May criteria races. which has been operating since 2009 – due to the difficult economic situation, a one-year break will be taken.

Lizzie Deignanfor example, hopes the women’s tour doesn’t follow the same path as the two-time race winner, who plans to use the event as a key benchmark for her return to racing after the birth of her second child, the queen stage. on its territory, in Yorkshire, is a clear target.

“[The Women’s Tour] what was in my head during the training runs,” she said. told the PA news agency.. “If this happens, I need to rethink my entire calendar.”

“It will be a huge loss in terms of the opportunity for British teams to have such a stage for racing as well as internationally. It’s a really important race because there aren’t many stage races in June, so it’s a brilliant preparation for the national championship and the Tour de France.”


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