Southend will stage its first ever leg of the world-renowned cycling event, The Women’s Tour, next week.

The fourth stage of the Women’s Tour is due to be held across the borough and parts of Rochford on Thursday.

Bosses were forced to reschedule this year’s event after the initial dates in June were moved due to Covid restrictions.

So ahead of the big day, here is everything you need to know about the event:

What is the route?

The 117.5km race starts at East Beach in Shoebury at around 11am.

It will then head north to Little Wakering before turning west onto Great Wakering and up to Rochford.

Competitors will pass through Great Stambridge, Canewdon, Ashingdon and onto Battlesbridge before they will then complete a circuit of the Maldon district.

They will eventually be brought back to Battlesbridge where they will head south through Rawreth and onto Rayleigh, onwards to Leigh, down through Chawkwell and finally crossing the line on Western Esplanade in Westcliff at roughly 2pm.


What roads will be closed?

Along with a rolling road closure which will take place during the event, several roads will be closed for nearly most of the day.

The following roads that will be closed between 4am and 11.59pm are:

- Rampart Terrace, Shoebury

- George Street, Shoebury

- Chalkwell Esplande

- The Leas (seafront)

- Western Esplanade to the zebra crossing east of Genting Casino

The full list of roads affected by the rolling road closure is available here.

How can I watch?

Members of the public will be able to line the route and watch from their place of choosing.

For those wanting to get up close to the action, organisers have announced a VIP package which features a ‘breakfast club’ in Shoebury.

This will take place ahead of the event and will allow you to meet some of the riders and listen to interviews.

You can also sign up to the Tour Enclosure package which provides a prime viewing location near the finishing line, a complimentary buffet, access to a bar and big screens to watch the race on.


What is the Women’s Tour?

For those not in the know, the Women’s Tour is an annual competition that is seen by many as Britain's most prestigious women's cycling race.

Established in 2014, it forms part of the prestigious UCI Women's WorldTour.

This year’s competition features six stages/ races which are:

1. Bicester to Banbury

2. Walsall

3. Atherstone

4. Shoebury to Southend

5. Colchester to Clacton

6. Haverhill to Felixstowe

It begins on Monday and the races will take place on consecutive days. This means the Southend leg will take place on Thursday.

What have bosses said?

Southend Council is hopeful the event will inspire residents to get cycling around the town.

Tory councillor Dan Nelson has been instrumental in bringing the event to the borough.

He said: “It’s an amazing event and is world-class with top champions and Olympians. It is a really exciting opportunity for the town and hopefully there will be big crowds out to see it.

“It shows we can host something like this and helps put us up there.

“People see it as an opportunity to see the world-class sport in town.

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“It shows young women and girls what they can aspire to and I think we need to do more for women’s sport in Southend.

“There is a great buzz in the town I just hope the weather’s good.”

Jonathan Durling, partnerships director at the Women’s Tour, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Southend to the Women’s Tour in 2021 for what promises to be a challenging day of racing.

“One of our aims this year was to showcase the best of Britain and by bringing the event to Southend, with its unforgettable coastline, world-famous pier and cultural hotspots, I think we’ve ticked that box once again.

“To accomplish this, particularly given the challenges of the past year, is testament to the work Southend Borough Council have put in behind the scenes.”