Two of the world's fastest cyclists have said they are excited to return to Essex for the Ford RideLondon Classique, which starts in Saffron Walden.

Lizzie Deignan, a multiple British champion and former world champion, and Charlotte Kool, defending champion of the three-day race, have said that the feeling of racing in Essex is "unlike anywhere else" on the UCI Women's World Tour.

The race returns to the county on Friday, May 24, starting in Saffron Walden at 11am and ending in Colchester.

Cyclists will ride through Thaxted, Finchingfield, Halstead, Mount Bures and Manningtree along the route.

Stage Two on Saturday, May 25 will begin and end in Maldon, while the third stage is an eight-lap route of central London, finishing on The Mall.

Other cyclists announced for the race include Lotte Kopecky, who is the current world champion after winning her title on the roads of Glasgow in 2023, and Lorena Wiebes, two-time winner of the Classique including all three stages in 2022.

Charlotte Kool, who along with Lorena Wiebes is ranked the best female sprinter in the world, said: "I have such fond memories of the crowds in 2023.

"There are so many people at the start line, but also the finish line and on the roadside, and they're all really friendly – I don’t think I have experienced this anywhere else so it's special, it’s really special."

The villages of Halstead and Mistley will feature additional sprints, where the fastest riders will be bidding to win the Points Jersey – awarded to the cyclist who has the most points at that point over the race.


There will also be aggressive riding for the honour of wearing the Queen of the Mountains Jersey, awarded at the top of climbs to the first riders across the line, in Elmdon and Wormingford.

RideLondon Classique race director Scott Sunderland said: "The twisting and winding of Essex roads makes it more exciting and one of the pleasures of planning the route is discovering how many similarities there are to mainland Europe and Belgium, while also offering something totally unique.

"The spectators in Essex are in for a treat."