THOUSANDS of amateur and professional riders took part in a massive cycling event which took place across the county at the weekend.

RideLondon took place for the first time in Essex, as it returned for the first time since 2019.

The 100, 60 and 30-mile routes took cyclists from London on a traffic-free route towards Braintree and back through Chelmsford and Chipping Ongar.

Hugh Brasher, the event director for London Marathon Events, said: “Overall, we are delighted, there’s an enormous amount of learning when you do an event, let alone one of this size.

“At the pro women’s race in Maldon and in Epping on Friday and Saturday, it was fantastic to see so many people out watching both in the countryside and towns.

“22,000 riders raised huge amounts of money for charity coming into Essex for the first time.

“It’s a beautiful county and even though there weren’t many steep hills, they still found it quite gruelling and it’s undulating the whole way was the feedback that I got.

“Overall, we are really happy with how it went, but we always know there will be local issues that we need to deal with, improve, change and adapt.”

The RideLondon Classique event, which is part of the UCI Women’s World Tour began with the first stage in Maldon on Friday.

Professional British Cyclist Anna Henderson, 23, took part in the event and secured the mountains qualification for her fast ascents during the race.

Mr Brasher added: “It’s stunningly beautiful in terms of the route - the hill up to Maldon high street is quite a steep hill.

“Incredible women’s racer Anna Henderson, who got away from the field at one stage, was going 85km an hour down some of those narrow roads.

“You don’t know the skill that these riders have until you see it.”

Although a location for next year's event hasn’t been confirmed yet, organisers hope it can return to Essex.