Cycling fans can expect a huge carnival as the greatest of the Grand Tours flies along the roads of Essex on Monday, but people will need to be prepared for disruption.
The Tour de France hits our county’s roads at the start of next week and with roads being closed down for most of the day, spectators and those looking to go about their daily business need to be aware of potential problems.
The Caravane Publicitaire – the Tour’s promotional bandwagon that precedes the riders – is set to enter Essex at about 10.45am on Monday.
It will wend its way along the route, handing out goodies to spectators, before heading off towards the London boroughs at just past 1pm, while the cyclists themselves will follow on almost two hours later.
They are scheduled to hit the county at 12.42pm and depart at 2.55pm.
However, road closures will be far more extensive.
The route in Uttlesford and Braintree districts will close at 7.30am on Monday and reopen at 4pm, while the section through Chelmsford will close at 8am and open at 5pm.
Braintree Velo Cycling Club general secretary Chris Broadway said: “It will be difficult for people with road closures so they will have to be prepared.
“I’m told the roads are going to be closed between 7.30 in the morning and about five o’clock in the afternoon so that’s going to cause some problems for those wanting to watch.
“If you are coming, I’d get to where you want to watch nice and early.
“There are a lot of corporate things going on, but I think it will be a good atmosphere as it will be like a big carnival.
“There are big screens showing the race in Felsted and Finchingfield so people will be able to watch the progress before it gets to us and also as it concludes in London.
“Being a Monday, I think it may be difficult for some to get there as they won’t be able to get the day off.
“So that makes it difficult to organise something as a club.
“I know some of the guys are going cross-country on mountain bikes, but I’m hoping to head up to a spot near Great Waltham that I know where they will come downhill as they come out of a nice bend.
“You’ll be able to see them for quite a while compared to quite a lot of the route when they’ll pass very quickly.”