A HUGELY popular cycling event is set to return after five years with a new starting point in Clacton. 

The Tour de Tendring event had taken place annually for almost 30 years, but was cancelled following the outbreak of the Covid pandemic.

Mick Barry, cabinet member for leisure and public realm, announced the return of the event at a meeting of Tendring Council on Tuesday night.

“One development that I hope will be welcomed by all members is the reintroduction of the Tour de Tendring cycling event in May, 2024," he said.

“I believe this last happened in 2019 and for various reasons it has not happened since.”

The pandemic meant the event did not take place for two years and in July 2022, the event was cancelled days before the tour was due to return.

Councillor Mick Barry also revealed that the event was going to be expanded and will now have starts "in both Dovercourt and Clacton”.

In 2019, all routes started and finished only in Dovercourt, with the longer route only passing through Clacton, as well as St Osyth, Great Bentley, and Great Oakley.

The race normally offers a six-mile route for families as well as longer 20 or 60-mile routes and has raised important funds for charity throughout its history.

Mr Barry also revealed that the district council is “looking to utilise our relationship with the Arts Council” in the hope of enhancing the event with new “straight theatre and entertainment on the day”. 

In response to the announcement, Dovercourt councillor Jo Henderson said: "It will be great for the Harwich Town Council’s Skate Hub Jam to link back up with this event. It has always been so popular.”

The Skate Jam in Dovercourt - where youngsters come together to 'jam' with skateboards - was first launched in 2018 and last ran in conjunction with the 2019 Tour de Tendring, an example of the tour's far-reaching community impact.

Councillor Mick Barry added: “I hope all councillors will oil their chains and blow up their tyres to ensure the way next May.”