Dalby Forest and the North York Moors National Park will create cycling history this June as they become the most northerly stage of the Women’s Tour for the first time since the UK’s leading international women’s cycling event began nine years’ ago.
Stage three of this year’s event (Friday 9 June), which begins in Dalby Forest and ends at Guisborough, will be the most challenging in the five-day Tour and will showcase the landscape together with both the quality of the cycling and the related facilities available to all leisure cyclists.
According to the race organiser, last year’s Women’s Tour attracted average daily roadside attendances of 60,000 spectators and delivered an economic boost of over £1m to local economies.
The race underlines a big year for cycling in Dalby Forest and the North York Moors. This spring will see the opening of a new eXplorer route by Dalby Forest in conjunction with the Dalby Forest Cycling Hub. This 15km route circles part of the forest with some spectacular views over the incredible landscape, alongside the humbling feeling of being free amongst the trees.
Then on 15 July, the National Park’s new ‘Hearts and Minds’ community cycling event will take place, starting from Sutton Bank, in support of Tom Parson’s Trust, British Heart Foundation and the National Park Trust.
The Women’s Tour stage will help strengthen the reputation of the North York Moors as a cycling-friendly destination. To-date more than 70 businesses, from cafés and accommodation through to cycle shops and bike hire locations have joined the National Park’s cycling-friendly scheme making it easier for cyclists to plan a trip and get support during their journey.
New routes have been created including the flagship 171-mile North York Moors Cycleway that guides road cyclists in a figure of eight right across the National Park using quieter roads and past many of the landscape’s highlights.
In recent years there has also been an increased focus on making cycling more accessible. For instance, the Dalby Forest Cycle Hub hires a range of adapted bikes such as recumbent trikes for those with balance issues and tandems for people with a visual impairment so they can enjoy cycling along a number of the accessible forest trails.
More details of the Dalby Forest to Guisborough route that the Women’s Tour will follow will be announced in the coming weeks.
Previously Dalby Forest was the scene of a stage finish in the men’s Tour of Britain in 2008 and Guisborough welcomed rounds of the Tour Series circuit race event in 2021 and 2022.
TomHind, Chief Executive Officer of the North York Moors National Park Authority, said: “We are delighted that the North York Moors will host a stage of Britain’s most prestigious women's cycling race.
“Cycling is a fantastic way to experience the area and a great boost to both physical and mental health. In the National Park’s Management Plan, alongside our commitments to climate and nature, we also endeavour to position the North York Moors as the premier family cycling destination in the north of England.
“On 9 June, professional athletes will showcase their elite speed and talent, and the incredible landscapes that we work to protect will be shared with nation. We simply can’t wait to be part of the excitement.”
Ed Woollard, Head of Recreation and Public Affairs at Forestry England Yorkshire says, “Dalby Forest is a well renowned destination for cycling, so we’re thrilled to be hosting this stage of the Women’s Tour – and being the furthest north they have travelled with this race!
We’re so lucky to have such a stunning, varied landscape here in Dalby and over the North York Moors which we’re excited to showcase. There has never been a more prominent time to champion women in sport so we’re delighted to be supporting and bringing this to our visitors.”
Mick Bennett, Women’s Tour race director, said: “We are very excited to be bringing the Women’s Tour to North Yorkshire for the first time in what is sure to be a very popular, and action-filled, day of racing.
“It is great to be working with Forestry England, the North York Moors National Park and Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council once again. We know that they are huge supporters of our events and I thank them all for their efforts.”
The Women’s Tour 2023 will begin in Warwickshire on Wednesday 7 June and will continue with a stage between Northampton and Ampthill (Thursday 8 June). The penultimate stage of the race (Saturday 10 June) takes place between Coleshill and Derby, creating a Midlands doubleheader to end the event, as this year’s champion will be crowned following a spectacular circuit race around the centre of Birmingham on Sunday 11 June.