riders on the startling of 2022 RideLondon Classique

Stages announced for Ford RideLondon Classique 2023

The 2023 Ford RideLondon Classique has announced the start and finish points for each of its three stages.

Between Friday 26 May and Sunday 28 May some of the very best women’s cyclists in the world will take to the streets of Essex and London for three days of intense racing. 

The Classique is part of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, the highest level of competition in professional women’s cycling, and will coincide with four other cycling events to make up RideLondon – Essex.

The final stage is where London takes centre stage, starting and finishing on The Mall, between Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square. 

The riders will race multiple laps past some of London’s most famous landmarks on an exciting city centre circuit with the stage’s distance not yet announced.

Scott Sunderland, Ford RideLondon Classique race director, said: “The 2023 Ford RideLondon Classique will once again showcase both the beauty and history of Essex in the first two stages, before concluding with a stunning finale in the heart of London on some of the most famous streets in the world.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the people of Saffron Walden, Colchester and Maldon to come out and see the world’s best female riders racing through their roads and we thank Uttlesford District Council, Colchester City Council and Maldon District Council for helping to make this possible.

“We are also delighted the final stage is returning to The Mall and we can continue to bring a world-class bike race to the very heart of London.

“We know how much the riders love racing in one of the world’s great cities and the support they get from the roadside.”

Stage one of the race will see the riders start in Saffron Walden on Friday May 26 before completing 150km and finishing on East Hill in Colchester, Britain’s newest city and its oldest recorded town. 

The Essex city is no stranger to hosting bike races, having previously been the starting point for stage one of last year’s Women’s Tour, the only other UCI WorldTour level race (men’s or women’s) held in Britain.

Maldon features once again on the parcours and will host the start and finish of stage two on Saturday 27 May.

The 140km route will likely be similar to the route used for stage one of the race last year which also started and finished in the coastal Essex town. 

Councillor Penny Channer, Leader of Maldon District Council, said: “I am pleased to see that this prestigious race will be returning to our district.

“I hope the whole community will turn out in force to support this wonderful spectacle and cheer on the world’s best female cyclists in Maldon.”

The Classique was launched in 2013 and is a key part of the RideLondon festival, which was created as a legacy event for the London 2012 Olympics.

2022 RideLondon Classique: Marta Bastianelli, Lorena Wiebes and Emma Norsgaard on the podium of stage 2

Its inaugural edition was won by Laura Kenny and since that 2013 edition other top riders in Kirsten Wild (2016 and 2018), Coryn Labecki (2017) and Lorena Wiebes (2019 and 2022) have won the Classique in its history. 

Wiebes won emphatically in all three bunch sprints last year and took the overall general classification.

The Dutchwoman is widely regarded as the best sprinter in the world and has started her 2023 season well at new team SD Worx after a surprise transfer from Team DSM in 2022.

With a similar parcours probably on offer and another chance to raise her hands on some of the world’s most famous roads, look to see Wiebes on the start line again amongst a stacked field of the other best sprinters in women’s cycling.

RideLondon returned in 2022 in partnership with Essex County Council after the event was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

They had formerly been partnered with Surrey County Council and used to run a men’s one-day race, the RideLondon-Surrey Classic, but the race’s organisers announced that would end and in June 2021 that the women’s race would grow from a one-day circuit race to a three-day stage race.

The Classique’s race organisers received criticism last year for only providing live coverage of stage 3 in London, with stages 1 and 2 only getting highlights packages.

There is a stipulation for all Women’s WorldTour races to show a minimum of 45 minutes of live coverage per day in pursuit of properly showing the women’s side of the sport and helping it grow.

Despite this, it has kept its WorldTour status for 2023.

In their announcement of the start and finish points, RideLondon stated that all three stages would be broadcast by the BBC.

The four other events part of the festival are mass participation: Ford RideLondon – Essex courses of 100, 60 and 30 miles and the Ford RideLondon FreeCycle. 

RideLondon-Essex 2022 saw 22,367 cyclists take part in either the RideLondon-Essex 100, 60 or 30-mile events

All four provide a unique opportunity for people to complete a course on traffic-free, closed roads around Essex and into central London and will take place on the final day of the Classique, Sunday May 28.

All images credited to James Moultrie

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