LAW firm Pinsent Masons hopes its sponsorship of the elite women’s race at the Otley Cycle Races will inspire the next generation of female cycling stars to follow in the tracks of homegrown champion Lizzie Armitstead.
The 25-year-old cycling star won the Pinsent Masons Women’s Grand Prix before a home crowd of 20,000 on Tuesday night, beating Paralympic star Dame Sarah Storey, Nicola Juniper and Gabriella Shaw in fourth.
Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France, Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, and Bernard Hinault, five-time winner of the Tour, were among the VIPs watching the event.
The Box Tree Restaurant of Ilkley provided the catering in the special enclosure.
Earlier on Tuesday, some of the female competitors joined lawyers from Pinsent Masons to visit Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Otley.
Janet Sheriff, headteacher, said: “As a local high school at the heart of our community, we try daily to encourage our young men and women to reach as high as they can.
“Past students such as Lizzie Armitstead and our recent U20 Rugby World Cup Winners can instil such motivation in our students – whether they are heading for Rio in 2016 as some of our current students are, or reaching for the sky academically.”
Pinsent Masons has launched ‘Project Sky’ to improve gender balance in the firm’s partnership and senior leadership team. It aims to remove any barriers to the progression of women to the highest levels in the business.
Chris Booth, head of Pinsent Masons in Leeds, said: “The firm hopes to play a part in encouraging the cycling stars of the future.”
The Otley event has been running for nearly 30 years.