1. ITV Report

Armitstead to compete in lucrative Tour de Yorkshire

£15,000 will go to the winner. Photo: PA

World champion Lizzie Armitstead will be competing for the biggest prize fund ever offered in a women's cycling race when she competes in the Tour de Yorkshire next month.

Armitstead confirmed her participation as organisers announced a total prize fund of £50,000, with £15,000 on offer to the winner - three times the sum Armitstead collected when she won the world championships in Richmond, Virginia last year.

The women's race on April 30 will follow a 135km route between Otley, Armitstead's home town, and Doncaster, the same roads on which stage two of the men's race will take place later the same day.

As the Tour de Yorkshire seeks to make its mark on the world of cycling, organisers see the women's race as the area where they can make the biggest impact in the short term.

"We're trying to seismically change the sport," said Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome To Yorkshire. "It is the most lucrative women's bike race on the planet."

Armitstead skipped last year's inaugural event. Credit: PA

"If you won all three stages of the men's race, and you took the general classification money as well, you would still be 40% worse off than the winner of the women's race. So that's a big difference."

Armitstead skipped last year's inaugural event here, complaining the flat, 60km circuit stage for the women's race was not worth disrupting her European season for, but she was an obvious target for organisers to tempt here ever since the race start in her home town was announced in December.

"They didn't really give me much chance not to turn up did they?" she said.

"I think it's good that if you put on a race you do it properly, so it's not just a token event. If I'm totally honest I think that's what last year's race was, just a token event. It's good to see that this year they're doing it properly, putting equal prize money out there and inviting all the best teams."