King backs annual Women’s Tour

The first ever Women’s Tour of Britain begins in Northamptonshire on Wednesday, with Olympic champion Dani King hoping it becomes an annual event.

Eleven of the top 14 professional women’s teams, with a total of 96 riders, will compete across five days.

“It’s a massive deal and I think it’s so phenomenal that we can have such a massive race for women in this country,” King told BBC Radio 5 live.

“It would be great to have this as part of the women’s calendar year on year.”

As well as British Olympic track gold medallists King and Laura Trott, Dutch two-time Olympic champion Marianne Vos and Britain’s London 2012 silver medallist Lizzie Armitstead will be among those vying for victory in a strong field.

“I’ll definitely be playing a team role and hopefully given a job at the beginning of the day and fulfil that for a team-mate,” added King, who rides for Wiggle Honda along with Trott.

This first Women’s Tour of Britain is viewed as another sign of progress and recognition for female cycling.

Alongside other prominent female cyclists, including Britain’s Emma Pooley, Vos has been an active member of Le Tour Entier – a group petitioning cycling authorities for better opportunities and equality for women within the sport.

Their first goal was to push for a women’s race during the men’s Tour de France – and that goal has been achieved.

On 27 July, for the first time since 1989, women will race in

La Course, 

a one-stage event through Paris on the final day of the men’s Tour.

“Women’s cycling has grown massively and it’s so good to see so much coverage,” said King. “Obviously it’s going to be shown on TV every night which is great for women’s cycling.

“Media coverage helps with sponsors so the more the better. It’s attracted some big names and a top-class field like Lizzie Armitstead and Marianne Vos – people I really look up to on the road.

“It’s completely different from track cycling but I really enjoy being on the road with my team-mates. It’s nice not to have that pressure on my back, just a role within a race.”

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