V-Women's Tour: I'm racing from my shed says Illi Gardner

Illi Gardner
Illi Gardner will be competing from her shed in the vitual race

British cyclist Illi Gardner says the three-day V-Women's Tour, the replacement for the six-day Tour of Britain, is a good move for riders.

Cams-Tifosi's Gardner will ride from her shed in the virtual race, which will be streamed live by BBC Sport.

Gardner is relishing this new challenge. "Lots of races have been cancelled," she said. "We're all just excited for any sort of racing."

British Cycling will have two teams competing in the three-day event.

The coronavirus pandemic caused the cancellation of the original Tour, won last year by GB's Lizzie Deignan.

Routes that were to have been part of the full six-day road version of the event have been replicated for the online race.

Gardner, 20, and the other riders have been using online racing to stay fit during the lockdown. "I've been trying to do a virtual race race every week or two weeks just to keep that top end going," she told BBC Sport.

"It replicates riding on the roads quite well once you're in the race," said Gardner. "Once you can see everyone's avatars around you it doesn't take long to get sucked into it."

Eighteen teams will take part in the three-day Tour, which finishes on Friday evening.

There is a 21-strong British contingent in the race with former national track champion and nine-time Paralympic gold medal-winner Dame Sarah Storey leading her own all-British outfit, and British Cycling entering a second unit under the name Team Breeze.

The first day features a 38.7km course around Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, which was to have been part of the first stage of the tour. Day two's hill climb to the finish at Burton Dassett in Warwickshire was a part of stage four.

The third and final day is 35 laps of a one-kilometre circuit around London's Canary Wharf.