Southend-on-Sea is set to welcome elite global cyclists for the AJ Bell Women’s Tour in just under two weeks, with excitement building for the prestigious event.
The Southend-on-Sea Stage Four from Shoeburyness to Westcliff-on-Sea, will see riders set off from East Beach, Shoeburyness, on Thursday 7 October, before heading out into the rural roads of Essex, before reaching the finish line along the seafront in Westcliff.
The event will start in Oxfordshire on Monday 4 October, before visiting Walsall for the first time on stage two (Tuesday 5 October). A first-ever individual time trial stage, to be held in the north Warwickshire town of Atherstone, follows on stage three before the race heads east. Following the Southend leg are stages between Colchester and Clacton (Friday 8 October) and a Suffolk finale from Haverhill to Felixstowe (Saturday 9 October).
The event is certain to be action packed, and to ensure the riders are kept safe, a number of temporary and rolling road closures and parking suspensions will be in place across the town throughout the day. The council has worked in partnership with event organisers to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum, and businesses, schools and residents affected by closures have been contacted directly to allow them to plan ahead for the event. A full list of road closures and parking suspensions, alongside frequently asked questions, can be found on the Visit Southend website.
Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment, culture, tourism and planning, said: “The excitement is really building up for this fantastic event. We cannot wait to welcome world-class athletes to our town, including defending champion Lizzie Deignan, recently-crowned world time trial champion Ellen van Dijk, former winner Kasia Niewiadoma, and Tokyo 2020 medallists Marlen Reusser and Lisa Klein. I hope that local people can get out onto the streets to cheer them on. “
Cllr Ron Woodley, cabinet member transport, asset management and inward investment, said: “There will be some unavoidable disruption to travel across the town, but both the rolling and temporary road closures and parking suspensions will be lifted as soon as it is safe to do so. I wish all the riders the best of luck and hope that by hosting this event, we will inspire the next generation of athletes here in our town.”
Cllr Dan Nelson, ward councillor for Southchurch has been key bringing the event to the Borough. He said: “Hosting the AJ Bell Women’s Tour in our town is a fantastic honour, and it will bring many avid cycling fans to Southend for the day to see their favourite athletes competing for the top spot. The race will be tremendous for Southend and I am delighted to have been involved in bringing the event to the Borough. I hope to see big crowds at the start and finish lines, creating a real buzz for the riders.”
Jonathan Durling, partnerships director at SweetSpot, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Southend-on-Sea 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-on-Sea, 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-on-Sea Borough Council have put in behind the scenes.”