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Essex to host two stages of 2024 Ford RideLondon Classique

The start and finish venues for the 2024 Ford RideLondon Classique, part of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, have today been confirmed with Essex again hosting the opening two stages before an iconic finish in London on the third and final day. 

An extended partnership with Essex County Council will ensure the Ford RideLondon Classique has two stages in Essex until 2026 and the 2024 edition of the event, from Friday 24 May to Sunday 26 May, will see the race return to three familiar locations. 

Stage One will begin in the medieval market town of Saffron Walden, in north-west Essex, and finish in the historic city of Colchester, which was the first capital of Roman Britain. The stage was won in 2023 by overall race winner Charlotte Kool (Team DSM, now Team dsm-firmenich) who sprinted to victory on the city’s East Hill. 

Maldon (pictured above) will, for the third consecutive year, welcome the race for Stage Two on Saturday 25 May. The historic market town, which is based on the Blackwater estuary on Essex’s east coast, hosted a thrilling stage in 2023 when American Chloé Dygert (Canyon//SRAM Racing) took the first European road race victory of her career on a highly animated day in the saddle. 

The race will culminate with the showpiece Stage Three in central London, which is an iconic stage targeted by the world’s best sprinters. Dutchwoman Kool secured the overall Leader’s Jersey and her second win of the race on The Mall in 2023.

Scott Sunderland, Ford RideLondon Classique Race Director, said: “The Ford RideLondon Classique is one of the leading bike races in the country and I cannot wait to again see the world’s best riders race through Essex and London, following the success of the three-day format in 2023.”

“The Classique showcases the UK’s bike racing scene at its best, and its reputation in recent years has grown in no small part due to the atmosphere and welcome afforded to the riders, their teams and the people of Essex and London. The sights and sounds at the start and end points of Stages One and Two in Saffron Walden, Colchester and Maldon will live long in the memory as we continue to build a cycling legacy in Essex, and the London stage again offers the riders a chance to claim a statement win in one of the world’s most iconic locations on The Mall.”

“It is fantastic to see so many exciting British riders animating the race, hoping to follow on from the thrilling performance of Lizzie Deignan in the 2023 edition. Developing women’s cycling and encouraging more people to cycle come with a responsibility and I am hugely excited at what we can achieve together by 2026.”

Cllr Petrina Lees, Leader of Uttlesford District Council, said: “We are excited that the partnership between Essex and Ford RideLondon-Essex has been extended to 2026 and that the district will once again host the start of the Ford RideLondon Classique Stage One next year. The event brings spectators and competitors from far and wide and allows us to showcase our beautiful area. We look forward to another successful event.”

Cllr Michelle Burrows, portfolio holder for Leisure, Culture and Heritage, said: “Colchester is undergoing a remarkable transformation into a flourishing modern city, evident by the growing roster of regional and national events we now host. While our heritage remains an integral part of our identity, we are equally committed to promoting sustainable tourism and encouraging both residents and visitors to explore our city on bicycles. We have made significant investments in cyclist-friendly infrastructure, including a cutting-edge cycle track and the provision of more than 700 free bicycles for our residents. Additionally, we have established a central bike hub for convenient bicycle rentals. Our dedication to cycling culminates with our excitement in again hosting top-tier cyclists from around the world crossing the finish line in the Ford RideLondon Classique. This event truly is the icing on the cake for Colchester's journey towards becoming a premier cycling destination.”

Cllr Richard Siddall, Leader of Maldon District Council, said: “I am delighted that the prestigious Classique race will once again be returning to our district on Saturday 25 May. I really hope that residents will turn out in force to support this wonderful spectacle and cheer on the world’s best female cyclists, as they race through and around the area and reach the finish Line in Maldon.”

Cllr Lee Scott, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning a Growing Economy, said: “We are really excited to see the Ford RideLondon Classique return to Essex for the next three years. The event is one of the most prestigious women’s road races in the cycling calendar, featuring some of best riders from across the world. It is a great event for the whole family to enjoy and really helps to put Essex on the map.” 

The full route details of the three stages will be confirmed shortly.