Lizzie Deignan says uncertainty around Women's Tour future is 'frustrating' after promoter enters liquidation

Collapse of SweetSpot leaves race at risk of permanently vanishing

Lizzie Deignan
Deignan in action at the Women's Tour in 2021
(Image credit: © SWpix.com)

Lizzie Deignan has said the uncertainty around the future of the Women’s Tour is “frustrating” particularly with the Olympics approaching. 

Cycling Weekly reported last week that the race is at risk of vanishing completely after the promoter, SweetSpot, entered liquidation due to being beset by severe financial difficulties in recent months. 

Deignan told Cycling Weekly that the permanent loss of the race from the women's WorldTour calendar would be particularly significant this year, with a lot of riders set to use the event as a warm up event for the Paris Olympics. 

"I’m really sorry to hear the news about SweetSpot,” she said. "Obviously I hope this isn’t the end of the Women’s Tour as that would be a shame for women’s cycling in the UK. It is such an iconic race with a big following and fanbase so I hope it can still return.

“This year it also falls at a crucial time in the season for Olympic preparation so the uncertainty around whether it is happening or not is frustrating.” 

Many will be looking at British Cycling to implement a rescue plan for both the Women’s Tour and the Tour of Britain in the coming months. The national governing body stripped the Tour of Britain race licence from SweetSpot last Autumn over an alleged unpaid race licence fee. 

It's understood that as well as the men’s race, British Cycling will also strive to ensure that the future of the Women’s Tour is also not left in the balance. 

A British Cycling spokesperson told Cycling Weekly: “We are making every possible effort to ensure that the Tour of Britain and a UCI Women’s World Tour stage race take place in 2024 and beyond, and will be in a position to provide further details in the coming weeks.”

Deignan acknowledged the positivity of British Cycling’s statement but said that she hoped a resolution could be reached quickly.  

She added: “It’s encouraging that British Cycling have said they are making every effort to make sure it happens though and I hope we can get some clarification soon.”

Deignan’s team, formerly known as Trek-Segafredo, have triumphed at the Women’s Tour twice in recent years. Deignan took the victory herself in 2019 and her teammate, Elisa Longho Borghini, won the race in 2022

Longo Borghini’s victory was also the last time the race was held. It was postponed in 2023 after SweetSpot’s financial issues first materialised. The promoter cancelled the race due to a lack of sponsorship funds

Longo Borghini echoed the sentiment of her teammate and said that the race had helped “raise the level” of women’s cycling

“It was slowly becoming one of the races that riders were looking at in their calendar to race,” she said. “So I will be very very sad [if it does not take place].” 

“It was an important stage race,” she added. “It always had a very good parcours, was very well organised, the crowd was really nice and you could feel a good vibe there. We as riders were always really happy to race it.

“I also have very good memories of the race. Especially from 2019 winning the GC with Lizzie, then in 2022 winning the GC myself in that very thrilling finale.” 

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