Lizzie Armitstead’s wish for women’s cycling to receive a higher profile is to be granted in her home town.
The 2013 Otley Cycle Races will include a women’s professional event for the first time.
Armitstead, who celebrated her 24th birthday last week, called for a better deal for women’s cycling after winning a silver medal in the Olympic road race in July.
“We couldn’t not have a ladies race in Lizzie’s home town,” said Otley Cycle Races director Giles Pidcock.
“We are all immensely proud of Lizzie’s achievements and we want to support her ambitions.
“We expect many of the country’s top women riders to compete and it is going to add to standing of our event.”
He added: “Obviously we hope that Lizzie will be able to race but, we appreciate that she may have important international and team commitments.” Armitstead has been a loyal supporter of the Otley Cycle Races and this year she acted as official starter.
Previously she has had to ride in the men’s classic race because she was not allowed by British Cycling rules to contest the men’s professionals in the elite race.
The women’s race will open the evening’s racing in Otley on Wednesday, July 3.
The race will start at 5.30pm and its addition to the programme has increased the organisers’ desire to obtain floodlighting for the finishing straight and Birdcage Walk sections of the course.
Pidcock said: “We are hoping that we can attract title sponsors for the new women’s race and the money from that can go towards installing temporary floodlighting on the course.
“I am hopeful that we can achieve this aim because floodlighting will add to the amazing atmosphere that the event generates.
“There is tremendous interest in cycling right now and we want the the 2013 event to be bigger and better than this year when we had a record 14,000 crowd.”