Full details of the three 2023 Ford RideLondon Classique stages have been revealed
The full routes of the 2023 edition of the UCI Women’s WorldTour Ford RideLondon Classique, taking place between Friday 26 May and Sunday 28 May, have been announced today.
For a second successive year, the opening two stages will take place in the county of Essex, before an iconic final stage in central London that starts and finishes on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace.
The course design will once again entice the world’s best sprinters and one-day specialists to the UK. The General Classification (GC) is expected to be closely fought again with bonus seconds – available at each Finish, as well as at designated sprint points – likely to prove as crucial as they did last year when Lorena Wiebes won by 19 seconds. In addition to the GC, there are once again Sprints, Queen of the Mountains, Best Young Rider and Best British Rider competitions.
Stage One on Friday 26 May is 149.7K. It starts from Saffron Walden in the north-west of Essex and skirts the northern border of the county before finishing in the historic city of Colchester, the former Roman capital of England.
The stage includes three Queen of the Mountains sprints and two intermediate sprints and takes riders through some of Essex’s most beautiful villages and countryside including Dedham Vale, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Scott Sunderland, Ford RideLondon Classique Race Director, said: “This course is constantly up and down, with twists and turns and very little flat sections, before a slightly uphill finish in Colchester. It’s an excellent parcourse for the one-day specialists and strong sprinters.”
Stage One starts in King Street, Saffron Walden, at 11:00 GMT. Other key provisional timings are:
- Sprint one: Hill Street, Saffron Walden (11:43 to 11:48)
- Queen of Mountains (QoM) one: Walden Road, Sewards End (11:48 to 11:53)
- QoM two: Sandy Hill, Wormingford: (13:23 to 13:28)
- QoM three: Castle Hill, Dedham (13:49 to 14:07)
- Sprint two: Mistley (14:01 to 14:20)
- Finish: High Street, Colchester (14:33 to 14:56)
For further information on Stage One, including map and full timings, click here.
Stage Two on Saturday 27 May starts and finishes in Maldon on Essex’s east coast. The 137.1K stage is similar to Stage One of the 2022 edition of the Ford RideLondon Classique, which was won in a sprint finish by Lorena Wiebes (then riding for Team DSM) after an attack from Anna Henderson (Team Jumbo-Visma) was reeled in on the final climb before the finish.
The riders will start on Maldon town’s Promenade Park before heading north on largely flat, open roads, circling Abberton Reservoir. This year’s route includes three laps of a finishing circuit that will enable spectators in Maldon to see the riders at various locations. The final circuits include three climbs of the North Hill (distance: 1.5K, maximum gradient 7.8 per cent, average gradient 5.2 per cent), with the final ascent the short, steep Market Hill (8.2 per cent gradient) coming within 500m of the Finish Line.
Sunderland said: “The final circuits of Stage Two cover approximately 22K and include the repeated climb of North Hill. It’s on these circuits that we will see team tactics evolve with the final Queen of the Mountains points of the race up for grabs, as well as the Stage victory.”
Stage Two starts in Promenade Park, Maldon, at 11:00 GMT. Other key provisional timings are:
- Sprint one: Tolleshunt D’Arcy (11:16 to 11:18)
- Sprint two: Newbridge Road, Tiptree (12:03 to 12:09)
- QoM one: Church Road, Wickham Bishops (11:48 to 11:53)
- QoM two: North Hill, Little Baddow (12:55 to 13:07)
- QoM three: North Hill, Little Baddow (13:25 to 13:41)
- Finish: High Street, Maldon (14:15 to 14:36)
For further information on Stage Two, including map and full timings, click here.
Stage Three on Sunday 28 May is an eight-lap race through some of the most famous streets in central London, starting and finishing on The Mall. The 91K stage will take the riders on a circuit that passes iconic landmarks such as Piccadilly Circus, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Palace of Westminster.
The Mall was also the Finish Line for the RideLondon Classique from 2016 to 2019. Past winners on the famous stretch of road include Kirsten Wild, Coryn Rivera and Lorena Wiebes. Last year, the Finish Line was on Victoria Embankment, where Wiebes won the final stage to seal her overall General Classification victory.
Sunderland said: “The Mall is one of the most iconic streets in the world so this final stage in central London is one every cyclist will be eager to win. The precious time bonuses available at two sprint points during the stage – at the end of laps three and six – could prove crucial in the hunt for the overall victory.”
Stage Three starts on The Mall, London, at 15:30 GMT. Other key provisional timings are:
- Sprint one: The Mall (16:17 to 16:21)
- Sprint two: The Mall (17:04 to 17:13)
- Finish: The Mall (17:35 to 17:48)
For further information on Stage Three including map and full timings, click here.
UCI Women’s WorldTour race
The Ford RideLondon Classique is part of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, the highest level of professional women’s cycling in the world. It became a three-day stage race for the first time in 2022.
The Classique is part of Ford RideLondon, the world’s greatest festival of cycling, which includes four mass participation events that will take place on Sunday 28 May, the same day as the final stage of the Classique. The events include Ford FreeCycle, a free event for all that takes place on largely the same roads as the final stage of the Classique, and the Ford RideLondon-Essex 100, 60 and 30-mile rides.