The race director of the Women's Tour has described this year's parcours as "the most brutal yet" after adding more than 4,000 metres of climbing to the route.
Mick Bennett, the race director, took the decision due to riders saying after last year's race that they would like the race to cater more to climbers, and that the 2018 edition was not selective enough, with every stage ending in a sprint.
"Our view was: 'Right you’ve asked for it now,'" Bennett said in an interview with The Telegraph. "We’re going to make this the most brutal race yet.
"One problem in the past was that the depth in women’s cycling is not as deep as in the men’s race," he continued. "And as we have rolling road closures we can’t afford to have the peloton spread out all over the road. But I think we’ve got a nice balance this year."
Coryn Rivera, the Sunweb sprinter, won both the overall and points classification in last year's race, with Marianne Vos (CCC Liv) finishing second on GC, 11 seconds down, with Dani Rowe 25 seconds back rounding out the podium.
The Women’s Tour of 2019 will take place from June 10-15 and will be comprised of six stages, an extra day compared with previous editions.
The race kicks off in Suffolk, with a 157.6km stage from Beccles to Stowmarket. "There’s actually a yellow weather warning in place for Monday and Tuesday at the moment, which is for extreme weather," Bennett said. "There could be winds of 50-60mph. So it might be that the race splits up from Monday. We’ll see. It may be that we need to act but we’re in touch with the Met Office. And we’ll take a view with the race commissaire."
Stage two provides a 62.5km criterium style event, which will see the peloton complete 25 laps at Kent’s Cyclopark, while stage three starts in Henley-on-Thames and finishes at the UNESCO World Heritage Site Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.
The following day, fans can enjoy a hilltop finish in Burton Dassett Country Park, at the end of the 158.9km stage from Warwick to Burton Dassett Country Park.
Stage five will be the hilliest, and we can expect a shake up in the GC. The race moves to Wales on Friday June 14, with a 140km stage from Llandrindod Wells and Builth Wells. The stage accumulates 2,2000 metres of climbing in total.
The final day of racing sees the peloton attack undulating terrain as the travel from Carmarthen to Pembrey Country Park, over 126km.
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