SweetSpot Group has announced its commitment to bring live coverage of The Women’s Tour, held from June 7-12 as part of the Women’s WorldTour, and the men’s Tour of Britain, held from September 5-12 as part of the ProSeries, through a partnership with Eurosport and the Global Cycling Network (GCN). The five-year deal promises to bring their two marquee races to millions globally through premier digital platforms and channels.
“We’re thrilled to be working with Eurosport and GCN in 2021 and beyond to enhance the programming for our existing events and explore opportunities for growth,” said Hugh Roberts, chief executive of SweetSpot, which created the Women’s Tour in 2014.
“Eurosport’s and GCN’s incredible reach has helped spread the awareness of the Tour of Britain and Women’s Tour worldwide and, with the addition of the GCN+ to their portfolio, we’re confident of both enhancing our coverage of these races and creating more interactive viewing experiences for cycling fans.
“After a challenging year for everybody, the continuation of this partnership is also great news for all of our partners and regional stakeholders, who will continue to benefit from the exposure that SweetSpot’s events provide.”
According to a press release Tuesday, the agreement between SweetSpot and the Discovery brands will see the Eurosport App, GCN+ and discovery+ in selected markets for exclusive coverage of Tour of Britain. SweetSpot will also work with Eurosport and GCN to introduce first-ever live coverage of the six-day Women’s Tour race. In addition, the partnership will see Eurosport handle the rights distribution for both events.
“We’re pleased to partner SweetSpot to further expand our unrivalled live cycling portfolio. By producing the Women’s Tour for live viewing for the first time ever, we’re excited to build on our mission to bring parity to world-class men’s and women’s events for fans to enjoy everywhere,” said Andrew Georgiou, president for Eurosport and Global Sports Rights & Sports Marketing Solutions.
The Tour of Britain was relaunched in 2004 after a five-year absence from the calendar and has become the leading road cycling event in the UK, held annually across eight days in September. Former winners include Mathieu van der Poel (2019), Julian Alaphilippe (2018), Lars Boom (2017) and Steve Cummings (2016).
The Women’s Tour was created in 2014 and quickly rose to the top level of professional bike racing when it joined the Women’s WorldTour in 2016, where it has been applauded as one of the most popular and progressive events in the top-tier of women’s racing.
In 2018, organisers brought parity to the event’s prize fund with the men’s Tour of Britain and both pelotons raced for a total amount of €90,000. In 2019, the peloton competed for €97,880 across six days of racing and Lizzie Deignan won the overall title. Former overall winners also include Coryn Rivera (2018), Kasia Niewiadoma (2017), Deignan (2016), Lisa Brennauer (2015) and Marianne Vos (2014).
The only aspect missing from a well-organised Women’s Tour over the previous six years was the fans’ access to watching the stage race through a live broadcast. Organisers confirmed last year that they aimed to have live television coverage in 2021, as per the Women’s WorldTour series requirements.
“The Women’s Tour is already a highlight of the Women’s WorldTour calendar with fantastic crowds and support in the UK but to add live television coverage will really takes it to the next level,” Deignan said.
“It’s great to see the race has partnered with Eurosport and GCN and it being live means there will be even more exciting racing throughout and adds to the already brilliant atmosphere. The race is even more special to me as it is where I won my first World Tour race following the birth of my daughter Orla and also with my Trek-Segafredo team in 2019. I hope to be able to defend my title there this year.”
The Women’s Tour and Tour of Britain were cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 coronavirus but they are confirmed to take place in June and September, respectively. Organisers also noted that they continue to look for a headline sponsor for 2021 and beyond.
SweetSpot has not yet released the full route details for the 2021 events. The Tour of Britain will start from Penzance in Cornwall and finish in the city of Aberdeen. Organisers told Cyclingnews about the planned start and finish locations for the Women’s Tour.
“The 2021 Women’s Tour will begin in Bicester, Oxfordshire on Monday 7 June and finish on Saturday 12 June with a stage between Haverhill and Felixstowe in Suffolk. Further details of the route for the Women’s Tour will be announced in the coming months,” a representative of Women’s Tour organisers SweetSpot told Cyclingnews.