RideLondon will return next May with a new format including a three-day UCI Women’s WorldTour race – but Box Hill will be missing from the route of the hugely popular sportive ride, with Essex County Council replacing Surrey as partners for the event.
The event will shift from its traditional slot of late July/early August and will take place on Sunday 29 May rather than spanning the entire weekend, as happened in previous editions.
The new RideLondon-Essex 100 sportive will take riders on a 100-mile closed road route from the capital into Essex and back, and unlike in past years where entries were allocated purely by ballot, the first 10,000 entries will go on sale on a first-come, first served basis from Wednesday 10 November.
Places cost £89 and once the initial 10,000 have sold out, prospective entrants will be put in a ballot, which will close at 17:00 on Thursday 20 January 2022.
There will also be family-friendly rides on closed roads in the capital, while the three-day UCI Women’s WorldTour race will run from 27-29 May, with Essex hosting the opening two stages.
There will be no reboot, however, of the men’s elite race that appeared in previous editions as the RideLondon-Surrey Classic but which had already disappeared from the UCI calendar.
Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: “I’m delighted that, after two years away, RideLondon will return with an exciting new partnership with Essex County Council.
“RideLondon is the world’s greatest festival of cycling and one of the highlights of the year for Londoners.
“From building confidence in new cyclists to enabling more experienced riders to push themselves, as well as offering a chance to cheer on the professionals – there is something for everyone to enjoy.”
The new partnership with Essex County Council follows the announcement by Transport for London (TfL) in March this year that existing organisers London Marathon Events (LME) had been awarded the contract to arrange the event from 2022-31, following more than a year of uncertainty regarding its future direction.
Founding sponsor Prudential announced in January 2020 that it would be terminating its sponsorship after that year’s planned eighth edition, which in the end was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, with a virtual edition held instead.
October 2020 saw Surrey County Council, which had partnered with the event it was established in 2013 as a legacy of the previous year’s London Olympics, announce that it would be ending its participation and focus instead on smaller, “less disruptive events.”
> Surrey withdraws support for RideLondon in favour of "less disruptive events"
It had been the intention to hold a slimmed down, one-day event in central London this year, with no sportive or men’s elite race but again restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic made that impossible.
Commenting on the new partnership, Councillor Lee Scott, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Maintenance and Sustainable Transport, said: “This is absolutely fantastic news for Essex and a tremendous boost for a county which is committed to cycling for all ages and abilities and to supporting active lifestyles.
“Last week we launched Everyone’s Essex, which contains a commitment to get more people to live healthily.
“With RideLondon coming to our great county, we have the chance to inspire people of all ages to get pedalling, and at the same time benefit communities across Essex thanks to the charities and community organisations the event’s charitable trust supports,” he added.
Further information regarding next year’s event will be announced during the coming months, say organisers.
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