Road closure details have been announced for the Oxfordshire stage of the AJ Bell Women’s Tour professional cycling race – between Bicester, Oxford, Abingdon, and Banbury – on Monday, 04 October 2021.
Road restrictions will be in place at the start point on Bicester’s Sheep Street and Market Square involving closures, prohibitions of waiting, disabled person parking and loading, and the imposing of one-way traffic. Local diversions and information signs will be used to indicate the route.
There will then be rolling road closures from approximately 11.00am at the race start area in Bicester, controlled by police and route marshals. The road closures will then continue along the route. Highways and junctions with access roads onto the route will also be closed for short periods while the race passes through. The length of closure depends on how dispersed the riders are.
Typically, the lead motorcycle instigating the closure is 15 minutes ahead of the lead rider. The closure then remains in place until all riders and race cars have passed through. Residents are advised to look at the route of the race and avoid trying to drive on that road for about one hour either side of the predicted time of the race passing through.
Road closure locations along the route – between Bicester, Oxford, Abingdon, and Banbury – are listed in full on the county council’s website. There will be around 100 pro-cyclists, accompanied by support vehicles. Many spectators are expected to line the route. Residents are encouraged to pick a time and place along the route where they can enjoy the excitement and cheer the riders on.
From the start line on Bicester’s Sheep Street, the race will complete a short northern loop, passing secondary school students at The Cooper School, before heading south past Graven Hill to Islip and on to Oxford.
The peloton will then sweep past Magdalen College and into south Oxfordshire via Blackbird Leys. The stage will reach its southernmost point passing the Culham Science Centre before heading north through Abingdon, Eynsham, and then past Woodstock.
The riders will pass through north Cherwell taking in Hook Norton, Sibford Ferris and Broughton, arriving in Banbury for the first time. They will then head back out through Bloxham completing a short loop of parishes before returning to Banbury where they will pass the Cross and the Fine Lady statue on their way to a sprint to the line on South Bar Street.
Predicted race timings for when the peloton will pass through each local area are available on the Women’s Tour website.
Created by SweetSpot Group in 2014, the Women’s Tour is the UK’s first international stage race for women, bringing the world’s top riders to compete in Great Britain as a part of the UCI Women’s World Tour.
In addition to its wider aims of promoting active and healthy lifestyles to women, the event has championed equality in sport, notably offering the same prize fund pro rata as the men’s Tour of Britain.
The race, which has been won by the likes of Marianne Vos (2014), Lizzie Deignan (2016 and 2019) and Coryn Rivera (2018), attracts an annual roadside audience of 300,000, as well as over three million fans through linear and online platforms.
Tom Duckham, AJ Bell Women’s Tour Project Director (Oxfordshire), said: “We have worked closely with the race organisers to keep disruption to an absolute minimum. The rolling road closure system has been used for many similar events, designed to keep highways open until just before the competitors approach and allowing for quick re-opening once the trailing competitors pass.
Councillor Andrew Gant, Cycling Champion at Oxfordshire County Council, said: “We want this prestigious race to leave a legacy for the county; not only a lasting economic impact, but by motivating people to be more active and improve their health. If you’re travelling to a vantage point, why not cycle or walk? Leave the car at home for at least part of your journey and get some exercise as a spectator.”