15,000 places available in the event
100 mile and 50 mile routes available through beautiful Essex countryside
Free Family Ride for all ages & abilities
Family fun-filled Cycling Festival within Hylands Park
Routes re-trace 2014 Tour de France Stage 3 route
Organisers of the Vélo Series have today announced that pre-registration for a brand new closed-road cycling sportive in Essex is now open. Taking place on Sunday 20th September, Vélo Essex will see over 15,000 riders gear-up to ride on completely traffic-free roads across the County’s iconic roads and lanes. With 100 and 50 mile route options, a Free Family Ride and a Cycling Festival within Hylands Park, the new sportive is set to become the biggest participation event in Essex’s history.
Steeped in mile upon mile of beautiful rolling British countryside, Essex is renowned as one of the most stunning places to ride a bike within the UK. Having hosted Stage 3 of the 2014 Tour de France from Cambridge to London and produced some of Britain’s best time trialists, the County has a rich cycling history. Lining the roads with adoring fans and treating the pro’s to some of the most incredible support ever seen, it’s now time for the amateurs to experience their very own ‘Grand Tour of Essex’.
The event is open to riders of all ages and abilities and will see a true weekend festival of closed-road cycling. With over 15,000 places across the 100 & 50 mile routes, and thousands more available for the Free Family Ride, it’s expected that Vélo Essex will become one of the UK’s top three biggest cycling events in its inaugural year and the biggest participation event in Essex’s history.
Building on its historic success as host during the 2014 Tour de France, organisers have worked hard to re-trace the 2014 Stage 3 route, with nearly half of the 100 mile route using the same roads as that memorable day. Taking riders from all over the country and further afield on the very best roads the County has to offer, Vélo Essex will take riders through iconic villages and towns like Finchingfield and Saffron Walden. With just 1,200 meters of climbing on the 100 mile event and 600 meters on the 50 mile option, both routes are very achievable to any level of rider.
The Free Family Ride will start and finish in Admirals Park in Chelmsford and will take place on Sunday from 10:30 – 14:30. It is expected that thousands of cyclists of all ages will make the most of the unique opportunity to cycle around the 3 mile loop on completely closed roads.
In addition to the three routes, there will also be a ‘Cycling Festival’ within Hylands Park across the weekend that will feature cycling-themed activities, great food and drink, live Q&As, live music and fun for all the family. The event will also offer a host of camping options within Hylands Park on Saturday, adding to the event’s festival feel and providing riders with the opportunity to enjoy an unrivalled weekend within Essex.
With over half of the riders likely to travel from outside the County, the event is expected to bring significant business to local shops, restaurants and hotels, culminating in a substantial economic impact for the county. As well as raising awareness of the region’s stunning recreational sites and bringing custom to local businesses, Vélo Essex is also expected to raise millions of pounds for a range of local and national charities. The event has officially partnered with Prostate Cancer UK – the only UK-wide organisation solely focused on beating prostate cancer – and the Active Essex Foundation, a local charity promoting opportunities for everyone in Essex to engage in physical activity and sport. This is of course in addition to Essex based charity Helen Rollason Cancer Charity and the thousands of participants which will raise money with family and friends in support of charities which are particularly close to them.
In addition to General and Charity entries, Velo Essex’s ‘Business 100 Challenge’ offers companies of all sizes the exclusive opportunity to take on the ride alongside their colleagues. Taking part in teams of four, companies will benefit from exclusive training and networking opportunities as well as a fantastic VIP experience on the event day itself.
As well as the ride itself, riders are encouraged to explore the very best of Essex over the course of the event weekend. With breath-taking coastlines, vineyards and a host of historic landmarks, many visitors are expected to extend their trip to enjoy a long weekend in one of Britain’s most beautiful counties.
In line with all of the Vélo Series events, organisers will execute a robust Business & Resident Communications Strategy aimed at raising awareness of the road closures within the county and working closely with individuals and business to help overcome any access issues caused by the road closures. Organisers are also encouraging the local community to plan ahead for the road closures with more information and contact details listed on the Vélo Essex website.
Cllr Ray Gooding, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “Vélo Essex will be a great event involving thousands of people, many of whom will be coming to Essex for the first time. This event will showcase the beautiful countryside and wonderful towns we enjoy in Essex.
“Cycling is a healthy activity with the added benefit it improves the environment by cutting down on carbon emissions. A strategic priority of Essex County Council is to improve the health of people in Essex and our support for Vélo Essex is a foundation in our approach to achieving this priority.”
Local hero, and professional UCI World Tour rider, Alex Dowsett is an official ambassador for the event. Commenting on the inaugural Vélo Essex event he said: ‘I’m really proud to be part of Vélo Essex – a brand new closed-road sportive in the lanes I grew up training in. Whilst many other pros would move to warmer shores to train over the off-season, I’ve always believed that Essex is one of the most beautiful places to ride in the World and opted to stay and train here. I can’t wait for everyone else to see all that Essex has to offer.’
Captain of the winning 2003 Rugby World Cup England team, Martin Johnson CBE, added: ‘It’s fantastic to be involved in the launch of a brand new closed-road Sportive – one of just two in the South. Since hanging up my boots from professional rugby, I have fallen in love with cycling and the many benefits it offers. Last year’s Vélo Birmingham & Midlands event was one of my best days ever on the bike, so I can’t wait to see if Vélo Essex can top it!’
Former Captain of the England and Essex County cricket teams, Graham Gooch OBE, commented: ‘I, like Martin Johnson, took up cycling after retirement from professional sport and have never looked back. Having lived in Essex all my life while playing and coaching the County team, I know the lanes well and can say first-hand how beautiful this route is. The fact the organisers have managed to re-trace so much of the famous 2014 Tour de France Stage 3 route is just fantastic. I look forward to joining 15,000 other riders for what promises to be a fantastic day out.’
View the routes in full and pre-register for the event now at www.veloessex.com