NEWLY-CROWNED world champion Elisa Balsamo has confirmed she will be joining this week’s AJ Bell Women’s Tour.

Final preparations are underway for the elite five-day cycle race, which will be coming to Colchester and Tendring on Friday.

Balsamo, winner of the UCI World Championships road race in Belgium last week, will make her debut in the UK’s leading women’s race, which began in Bicester, Oxfordshire, today.

Famed for her sprint finish, Balsamo could become the first reigning world champion to win a road stage of the race since Lizzie Deignan in 2016 should she triumph on British roads.

Her Italian compatriots Martina Alzini, Vittoria Guazzini, Elena Pirrone and Silvia Pollicini, alongside French rider Margaux Vigie, complete the provisional Valcar – Travel and Service line-up for the race.

Read more >> World’s best to take part in Women’s Tour in Colchester and Tendring

The world’s top female cyclists, including World time trial champion Ellen van Dijk and defending champion Lizzie Deignan, will race between Colchester and Clacton on stage five on Friday.

Almost 100 riders battle it out on the roads of north Essex for the stage win, and to position themselves in the overall race.

From 11.30am the route takes the peloton from Colchester’s Northern Gateway Sports Park and through the historic town centre before the riders pedal out of the borough to Ardleigh and Great Bromley.

Gazette: The route map for the Colchester to Clacton stage of the Women's Tour 2021

They will then ride on to Clacton, via Elmstead Market, before completing a loop of Tendring district.

To enable the race to happen safely a rolling road closure will be in place along the majority of the route – meaning streets will be open either side of the event as riders head to the finish line.

A full road closure will be in place from 5am until 8pm along Marine Parade West and part of West Road to facilitate the finish line and event.

Sue Lissimore, portfolio holder for resources and deputy leader at Colchester Council, said: “Having some of the world’s best female cyclists whizzing through our historic town centre is going to provide a fantastic buzz and I hope as many people as possible take the opportunity to cheer them on.

“Obviously it is important for us to help people to see the event, as well as continuing to support our town centre to thrive.

“This is why we are using rolling road closures to ensure minimum impact on road users whilst enabling a safe and spectacular event.”

For the likely timetable. go to