HOPES are high that bringing a stage of one of the marquee women’s cycling races in the world, will provide a major long term boost to the Powys economy,

On Friday, June 14, the fifth and penultimate stage of the  OVO Energy Women’s Tour starts at  Llandrindod Wells – finishing at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells.

In between, the cyclists face a gruelling 140 kilometre (87mile) route taking in the climbs of Gorddwr Bank and Pennau along its unrelenting course, where the crown of Queen of the Mountains race will be decided.

From  Llandrindod Wells’ lake, the cyclist will race in an anti-clockwise loop of Powys that heads as far north as Dolfor and as south as Upper Chapel passing through Rhayader before turning back towards the finish at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd.

The race coming to the county is the fruit of year long negotiations between Powys Count Council (PCC) and race organisers Sweetspot.

Powys County Council Leader, Councillor Rosemarie Harris (Independent – Llangynidr), said: “It’s a huge pleasure to launch this event, for us it’s massive.

“This is the first time ever that we will have a whole stage and it will be an opportunity for us to showcase much of Powys that does not always get the attention it deserves, for instance Knighton on the edge of the county.

“The tour attracts millions of viewers and thousands of visitors wherever it goes and will not only provide a huge economic boost to business but inspire a new generation to take up this exciting sport.”

Cllr Harris added that she hopes many spectators will stay in the county and that would benefit hotels and B&Bs in Powys.

She also said that there would be opportunities for businesses to get involved and that the race organisers would also be looking for volunteers for the day.

Cllr Harris added: “We’d like to get everyone involved, schools, communities and businesses to make the most of it.

“It would be wonderful if this is just the start of something we could do over the next few years.”

School children can also get involved as Cllr Harris explained there would be a competition.

Primary school children can design a flag that will be used to cheer the cyclists from the grand depart.

Secondary school students can design a trophy or award to be presented at the end of the stage.

“That’s nice and I hope as many schools as possible get involved,” added Cllr Harris.

Executive chairman of race organisers, Sweetspot, Huw Roberts, said: “This race is becoming the gold standard for women’s cycling.

“It’s great that Wales and Powys continue to support it and I have a meeting with Welsh Government officials to talk about the next five years and I’m certain that the support you have shown this year will hold us in good stead in the years to come.

“We don’t want this to be a one event wonder, we like building relationships and we will work out how we weave Powys into the fabric of not just the women’s race but also the men’s version.”

The Royal Welsh Showground has previously hosted a stage of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain, as Dutch sprinter Dylan Groenewegen triumphed there in 2016.

And this is where the stage finishes.

Steve Hughson, CEO of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, said: “Building on the success of the men’s Tour of Britain in 2016, we are looking forward to welcoming the 2019 Women’s Tour, its teams, riders and supporters to the showground in June.

Launched in 2014, the event  is regarded by riders, teams and officials  as one of, if not the leading professional women’s stage races on the calendar.

The 2019 OVO Energy Women’s Tour will begin in Suffolk on Monday, June 10.

Last year the race was won by American, Coryn Rivera of Team Sunweb.