RideLondon: Everything you need to know as thousands saddle up for London-Essex ride

Italy's Elia Viviani winning in 2019.
Credit: PA
Italy's Elia Viviani winning in 2019. Credit: PA

Tens of thousands of cyclists will be hitting the streets of London and Essex this weekend as part of RideLondon. 

Roads will be closed to give riders a traffic-free journey - here is what you need to need to know about one of the country's biggest cycling events.

What is RideLondon?

Set up in 2013 as a legacy to the Olympic games, RideLondon is one of the UK’s biggest cycling festivals. It is made up of a series of events, with the pièce de résistance being the 100-mile challenge taking place on Sunday, in which 25,000 cyclists take part.

There will also be an opportunity to explore the streets of London, without traffic, between 10am and 3pm as part of the RideLondon FreeCycle. The eight-mile route lets anyone, with any ability, visit some of the capital's best sites.

On top of the amateur rides there are three stages for female professional cyclists as part of the RideLondon Classique, starting on Friday.

The three stages form part of the UCI Women’s WorldTour. Stage one starts and finishes in the historic town of Maldon in Essex, stage two starts in Chelmsford and finishes in Epping and stage three begins and ends at Victoria Embankment in London. 

For the past two years the event has been cancelled due to coronavirus so organisers are hoping this year's event will see the crowds flocking back.

Riders competing in the second day of the 2019 RideLondon event - the last time it was held. Credit: PA

What is the route of RideLondon?

The route for the main 100-mile cycle will see riders visit key tourist attractions in London, before snaking through Epping Forest, Great Dunmow, Felsted, Chelmsford and Chigwell Row.

From city roads to quiet country lanes, there will be plenty for riders and spectators to see.

Map for the 100 mile cycle Credit: RideLondon

Those wanting to take part in the FreeCycle can turn up and take part. 

Map for the RideLondon FreeCycle Credit: RideLondon

Routes for professional races can be seen on the RideLondon website.

What road closures will there be for RideLondon?

If you are travelling through Essex on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday you may be impacted by road closures. London road closures will take place only on Sunday. 

Transport for London have warned of "significant delays" and people have been told to avoid driving near the event. 

Those organising RideLondon have put together these interactive road closure maps. Please scroll into each area to see a detailed map of roads and the times they are closed.

  • Friday closures

  • Saturday closures

  • Sunday closures

Which professionals will be competing in RideLondon?

The top 10 UCI-ranked teams in the world will be among the 20 teams taking part between Friday and Sunday.

Among the biggest names to compete is Elisa Balsamo, of Trek-Segafredo, who will wear the famous rainbow bands at the start of stage one on Friday. She will be joined by 23-year-old Lorena Wiebes of Team DSM, the winner of the 2019 RideLondon Classique.

Two other past winners will also be on the start-list - Coryn Labecki (Team Jumbo-Visma), who won in 2017, and Barbara Guarischi (Movistar Team), who won in 2015.

Twenty-one-year-old British champion Pfeiffer Georgi (Team DSM) is another rising star.

She is one of 20 Brits who will be cheered on by the home crowd, with Elynor Backstedt (Trek-Segafredo), Hannah Barnes (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team), Alice Barnes (Canyon/SRAM Racing) also due to take the start.

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