1. ITV Report

Thousands of cyclists to take part in major Vélo Essex cycling event

It's been announced that one of the UK's biggest mass-participation cycle events is to take place in Essex.

15,000 riders of all ages and abilities are expected to take part in Vélo Essex on September 20.

Cyclists will have three courses to choose from, including a 100-mile route which will retrace the famous 2014 Tour de France stage in the county.

There will also be a free family ride, as well as a cycling festival in Hylands Park in Chelmsford.

The course will start in Chelmsford and take in places like Dunmow and Saffron Walden. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Riders will be able to benefit from traffic-free roads along the route on the day, and organisers hope the sportive will inspire people to take up cycling as well as offering a welcome boost to the county's tourism trade.

The event was launched by a host of sporting stars in Chelmsford on Thursday - including former Essex cricketer Graham Gooch, and ex-England rugby captain Martin Johnson.

Both have developed a passion for cycling since retiring from their respective sports and both are keen for others to experience the same emotions.

"Just get out on your bike. The hardest step was always to get out the door," Johnson told ITV News Anglia.

"We all have those days where we think we don't fancy it. I've never regretted getting on my bike, even in the wind or the rain, or even when I've fallen off. I've never regretted getting on my bike and going to do it."

Graham Gooch added: "People get involved, they have fun, they do exercise, they get fit, they have a great day out, it's going to raise good money, hopefully, for charity as well. What is there to dislike?"