The British Cycling Premier Calendar Road Race series kicks off on Sunday 1 April, with the Maldon Dengie Tour, starting and finishing in Maldon, Essex. Dubbed by the riders as the 'Hell of the East' this event is quickly gaining a reputation as a classic in the making.
One hundred and twenty elite riders will race 104 gruelling miles on roads and narrow farm tracks between Maldon and the Dengie Marshes. The race has nine sectors of rough roads, the surreal flat landscape and ever present North Sea wind on the Dengie Marshes should make for a superb racing spectacle.
Event name: Maldon Dengie Tour 2012
Event date: Sunday 1 April 2012
Brief race history: Inspired by a visit to watch the Rutland CiCLE, organiser Alan Rosner decided to organise a similar race in the style of the Flanders Classics on the dusty and windswept roads and farm tracks of Dengie Marshes, east of Maldon, Essex. Now firmly established on the race calendar as the Dengie Marshes Tour, 2012 sees the event as the opening round of the British Cycling Premier Calendar series.
Event area location: Start and finish is in Park Drive, Maldon, Essex. The route goes out to Mundon, Latchingdon, Mayland, Steeple, Burnham on Crouch, Southminster, with four circuits of tracked roads around Asheldham, Dengie, Tillingham, St Lawrence and Steeple, then retraces some of the route back to finish in Maldon.
Race HQ location: Plume Upper School, Fambridge Road, Maldon, Essex, CM9 6AB
Race start times: 1.00pm in Maldon, Essex, approximate finish time 4.45 pm
Racing type: Premier Calendar Road Race
Update on competitor information: See event website for any updates. www.dengiemarshestour.com
Spectator information: Car parking is available in Maldon town centre, the White Horse Car Park, off Fambridge Road is free on Sundays. 2 minute walk to the HQ and 10 minutes to the start/finish area. Race programmes and information will be available to spectators from race HQ in Maldon.
Best places for spectators: The best places to view the racing action are at the start and finish area in Park Drive, Maldon. Out on the course spectators can watch the riders pass through Newmoor Farm, Southminster and Asheldham Grange, Asheldham. Please be aware some of the circuit is on private roads and spectators vehicles are not allowed access. Always follow the instructions given by race officials.
Riders to watch out for: The Maldon Dengie Tour is the first Premier Calendar race of the season and the main teams will be aiming to stamp their dominance on the rest of the peloton. Watch out for the Endura Racing squad who have 'man of the moment' Jonathan Tiernan-Locke in their very talented line-up which also includes 2011 Dengie winner Zak Dempster.
Another big name to watch out for is Daniel Lloyd riding for IG Sigma. Lloyd is returning to the domestic racing scene after three years on the continent riding with Cervelo and Garmin.
Fresh from their triumphant Tour of Mexico Team Raleigh will be looking for a strong showing at Dengie. In particular Evan Oliphant, Tobyn Horton and Bernie Sulzberger should be at the sharp end of the race, and second placed 2011 Dengie rider Graham Briggs will be wanting to move up a step on the podium.
With a large group of unknown foreign riders on the start sheet this race might be blown apart by new names, it’s going to be very tough and very exciting to watch the action unfold.
The organiser predicts: Alan Rosner exclusively told British Cycling: "The 2012 edition is going to be our best race ever, we have an unbelievable line up of riders, the circuit is ready and waiting for them, at the moment the roads and tracks are dry and dusty, but if we have rain before Sunday that will all change.
"The course is pan flat, in the ever present North Sea wind there is no shelter, this is a hard mans race, a challenge for man and machine. There is nowhere to hide. The race peloton will be lined out from Maldon and only the best riders will hit the rough sections in the front group."
Race Organiser contact details: www.dengiemarshestour.com