Guest post by Max Leonard.
From May 7-11th, 96 of the world’s top female cyclists will be racing up the hills of England in the Women’s Tour. It’s the first time there’s been a professional level women’s stage race in the UK, and it’s a first for Strava too. We are supporting the Women’s Tour Queen of the Mountains competition and crowning the Queen of the day with a QOM jersey.
The Women’s Tour takes place over five stages and 493.3 kilometres in the East Midlands and East Anglia regions of England. The result of a groundswell of interest and excitement about women’s racing in the UK, the event is organized by SweetSpot, the promoters who in recent years have taken the mens’ Tour of Britain to new heights. You can check out the full Women’s Tour route here.
The Strava QOM jersey will be easy to spot in the peloton, thanks to its striking orange polka dot design. Each of the five stages of the Women’s Tour will have two QOM classified climbs, where the peloton will fight it out for points. The jersey will be awarded each day and the classification leader will, with the help of her teammates, attempt to defend the orange polka dots on the roads of the next day’s stage.
The race finale is in Bury St Edmunds on Sunday May 11th. The woman who carries the jersey that far will claim the title of the first ever Queen of the Mountains in the Women’s Tour.
We’re thrilled to be involved in a race of this kind. It was the inspiring efforts of professional cyclists that led Strava to create its KOM and QOM leaderboards, which in their turn have motivated Strava athletes worldwide to pedal, sweat and sometimes curse their way to faster climbing. The Strava QOM has come full circle.
Many of our Pros, including Marijn de Vries, Katie Hall, Ellen van Dijk and Emilia Fahlin are on Strava and could be lining up for the Women’s Tour. Which means that some of cycling’s biggest names will be mixing in on England’s QOM leaderboards (we’ll publish a full list of Segments and athletes before the race). But don’t forge these are your hills and your leaderboards too – they’re the ones UK cyclists test themselves on, week in, week out, when they ride from their front doors. Soon everyone, both men and women, will be able to measure their performances against the best women riders in the world.
If you went wheel to wheel with Marianne Vos, Emma Johansson, Lizzie Armitstead or Emma Pooley up the climbs taken by the Women’s Tour, how would you measure up?