Elite women cyclists from around the world are set to take part in the first-ever Women’s Tour of Scotland cycling race in August.

Up to 20 of the world’s leading teams are set to compete in the three-day event, which was launched today in Edinburgh.

The news comes just weeks after it was announced that the inaugural Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Cycling World Championships will come to Scotland in 2023.

The two events are a huge boost to Scotland’s stated aim to become one of Europe’s top cycling nations and represents another coup for EventScotland, which has a proud track record in attracting major sporting events. Significantly, it was announced that the women taking part will compete for the first time for equivalent prize money to a men’s event.

Joe Fitzpatrick MSP, Scotland’s Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, said: “Scotland has a long and proud history of bringing major sporting events to a worldwide audience.  We are a nation that celebrates our diversity and equality so I am delighted that we are hosting the inaugural Women’s Tour of Scotland.

“With the Cycling World Championships coming to Scotland in 2023 this event adds to our drive to become one of Europe’s top cycling nations with cycling firmly embedded across Scotland as the favoured way to travel to school and work, as an enjoyable leisure activity and an efficient way to improve health.”

The event was officially launched by Katie Archibald MBE, Tour Ambassador, Olympian, Commonwealth Games, World and Multiple European Champion, in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

She said:This is a great route for a race and the sheer calibre of teams and riders who will be racing the first Women’s Tour of Scotland is really exciting – I’m proud to be involved with the Tour and I really hope more women and girls will be inspired to start cycling as a result.”

The three-day, three stage 350km Tour will take place on Friday 9th – Sunday 11th August 2019 and is intended to be a long-term fixture in the events calendar.

Seasoned Race Director, Alan Rushton, said: “The official start will depart from Dundee’s iconic waterfront area and the 103km stage will take in the Tay Road Bridge and travel down through the Kingdom of Fife to finish in Pittencrief Park, Dunfermline.

“Stage Two is a 139.4km route departing on Saturday 10th August 2019 from George Square, Glasgow, sweeping through The Trossachs and finishing in the centre of Perth.

The final stage of the inaugural Women’s Tour of Scotland will start and finish in the beautiful setting of Holyrood Park, the famous Royal Park in central Edinburgh.  The 118.3km stage will include three Queen of the Mountain climbs which will make the final 18kms of the Tour decisive.”

Local resident and President of Scottish Cycling, Tom Bishop said: “I am delighted to see the Tour pass through the countryside of the Kingdom of Fife to my hometown Dunfermline. The finish in Andrew Carnegie’s beautiful gift, the culturally rich Pittencrieff Park, will enable the vibrant local Cycling Community, in Scotland and beyond, to celebrate how cycling can transform lives as they are inspired to get on their bikes and get active through seeing a brilliant top level race up close.”

Between 18-20 of the worlds’ leading elite teams will be taking part andthe Women’s Tour of Scotland has proved a welcome addition to the international calendar of the worldwide governing body for cycling, the UCI.

Darren Clayton, Managing Director of Zeus Sports, said: “This is the first time a Women’s race has been brought before a Men’s and the first time the prize money for an equivalent men’s race has been matched from day one.  With an ambition to make the Tour the most digitally connected race over the next five years and the world’s first climate positive sports event by 2020, we at Zeus Sports, the Official Rights Holder, have set out a clear commitment to break with tradition, putting women’s cycling, parity of pay and sustainability at the forefront of the event.”

Highlighting the importance of this, Tour Ambassador Eileen Roe, Former British National Circuit Race Champion from High Valleyfield, Fife, said: “When I first began racing there were hardly any girls cycling, I would be racing against the boys.  To have a race like this will mean young girls can be inspired to get out on a bike”.

As part of the Tour’s legacy and development programme, alongside the professional race, each start and finish will feature family activation zones for fans, spectators, local residents, cycling clubs, visitors and families to get involved and be inspired to ride.

Holyrood Park will also see the start and finish of the official tour sportives where amateurs, enthusiasts and charity challenge fundraisers will have an opportunity to ride the final stage of the Women’s Tour of Scotland.

The inaugural Women’s Tour of Scotland will culminate in a free family day at Holyrood Park to be enjoyed by all. Full details for the mass ride and early release tickets will be announced next week. Details of the free family day will also be announced shortly. You can stay up to date with the latest news @womenstourscot