Top women’s cycle race to return to Essex in Braintree to Clacton stage

The Friends Life Women's Tour 2014 Stage 3 Clacton finish. Stage winner Marianne Vos who also won T

The Friends Life Women's Tour 2014 Stage 3 Clacton finish. Stage winner Marianne Vos who also won The Yodel and Yellow jersey - Credit: Lucy Taylor

A top cycling event is set to return to Essex this summer as professional athletes will race along the county’s roads.

The Friends Life Women's Tour 2014 Stage 3 Clacton finish.

The Friends Life Women's Tour 2014 Stage 3 Clacton finish. - Credit: Lucy Taylor

The second stage of the Friends Life 2015 Women’s Tour will begin in Braintree and finish on Clacton sea front, it was announced today.

Clacton hosted the finish of a stage in last year’s event and Tendring also started the final day’s racing in Dovercourt, while Braintree district saw the world’s biggest cycle race pass through when the Tour de France visited in July.

The stage, on Thursday June 18 will see up to 100 of the world’s top female cyclists compete in the five-stage race.

Jo Beavis, councillor for people and participation at Braintree District Council said: “The Tour De France put Braintree on the map for cycling, and some six months later we are still seeing hundreds of visitors coming to our district to enjoy the fantastic scenery and great rides that rural Essex has to offer.

The start of Friends Life Women's Tour 2014 Stage 5 in Dovercourt.

The start of Friends Life Women's Tour 2014 Stage 5 in Dovercourt.

“It is very rare you have the opportunity to see elite athletes in action, and so it is a real honour that following the success of Le Tour we have been selected to welcome this year’s Friends Life Women’s Tour, in which we will see some of the world’s best female riders competing in what is one of the biggest races in the world.


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“I am sure the residents of Braintree, Halstead and the villages it will pass through will be out in force for what will be a fantastic spectacle.”

Mick Page, leader of Tendring District Council, added: “We had the great honour and privilege of hosting two stages last time around and it was a fantastic couple of days where our residents and visitors got the chance to see the world’s top women riders in action close-up.

The event generated a great deal of interest and excitement all round and we immediately announced that we were determined to be involved again in 2015.

Crowds at the Friends Life Women's Tour 2014 Stage 3 Clacton finish.

Crowds at the Friends Life Women's Tour 2014 Stage 3 Clacton finish. - Credit: Lucy Taylor

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“I and many others are already looking forward to June 18 and the boost it will give our district.”

The first day’s racing on June 17 is also in the region, as race organisers revealed last week the stage would run from Bury St Edmunds to Aldeburgh.

Exact details of the route for each stage have not yet been revealed.

Mick Bennett, race director, said: “We are pleased to be able to return to Tendring after the success of last year’s visit, but also to encompass a new venue and area of Essex and we’re looking forward to visiting Braintree with the race.

“Having the opening two stages close together will be beneficial for spectators, and we hope that many can take this opportunity to see the world’s top riders in action twice.”

Relive last year’s Tour action here.

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