Tour de France organisers were impressed with the state of Essex’s roads when they drove along the route, a highways chief claims.

Essex will host the third stage of this year’s race on July 7, as more than 200 riders speed through the county.

Braintree district, which forms part of the Cambridge to London stage, has more than 1,750 cracks on its roads at present.

But road bosses admit the organisers’ tour of our roads took place before recent wet weather, which has caused additional cracks to form.

Essex Highways operations manager Andy Champ said: “When we invited ASO [event organisers] to drive the route, they commented how picturesque Essex was and they commented on the quality of the roads.”