OXFORDSHIRE councils will pay £175,000 so a women’s cycling race hailed as the UK’s biggest can take place in the county for one day.

Last week, county council leader Ian Hudspeth attended a launch at Blenheim Palace celebrating the OVO Energy Women’s Tour taking place in Oxfordshire on June 12.

The county will play host for the third stage of the race this year and will also host part of the race in 2020 and 2021.

June 12’s leg will start in South Oxfordshire before ending in Woodstock.

Cherwell District Council papers state each of Oxfordshire’s council leaders agreed on March 4 that the race should be welcomed.

All the councils’ cabinets will now be asked to approve spending £30,000 on costs for the day’s racing over coming weeks. That sum could be reduced by sponsorship.

The tour reportedly attracted 1.24m viewers when it was shown on ITV last year. This year will include ‘extensive media coverage, including national newspapers and cycling magazines’.

Cherwell council said: “Tourism is an important element of employment and economic prosperity for Oxfordshire.

“The media coverage and the attendance of people on the day of the event will have short, medium and long-term benefits for tourism in Oxfordshire. This will support businesses and employment.”

It also says hosting the race could be important in attracting girls to participate in sport.

Office for National Statistics figures showed boys aged between eight and 15 were spending ‘almost twice’ as much time doing sports than girls of the same age.

The county council is coordinating work between the other district councils and Oxford City Council.

Race organisers SweetSpot said the benefits of the 2018 OVO Energy Women’s Cycle Tour clocked in at about £7.7m.

Last year, the race passed through Suffolk, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire and Worcestershire in England and Gwynedd and Conwy in Wales.

The race will start in Suffolk on June 10. It will start in Beccles and finish in Stowmarket later that day.

The locations of all the other legs of the race have yet to be confirmed by its organisers.