Competitors, police motorcyclists and a pensioner on two wheels won enthusiastic applause from hundreds of people who lined the streets of Dereham to watch Tour of Britain cyclists fly past.

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The cyclists were more than 20 minutes behind the published schedule by the time they arrived from Swanton Morley, but the good-natured crowd kept spirits up by cheering race officials on their motorcycles ahead of the competitors.

Police motorcyclists gave the royal wave as they turned the sharp corner near Dereham Argos, the most popular viewing spot in the town.

Many spectators were on the phone to family watching the race on TV at home who kept them informed about where the cyclists were, although the coverage went to an ad break between Swanton Morley and Dereham.

Loud applause greeted the small leading group of cyclists as they finally came past, quickly followed by the much larger following pack.

Karen Sillett travelled from Norwich with her Union Jack to watch the race in Dereham Market Place because she thought she would have a better view.

She said: “We have been following the Olympics and Paralympics so this is a lovely conclusion that’s right on our doorsteps. Obviously we want to see Wiggins and Cavendish.”

Alistair Brand, 13, said he and other youngsters in Rockland St Mary had been inspired to take up cycling by TeamGB’s success in the Olympics, and he was now pestering his dad to buy him a racing bike – a battle he said his father is losing.

He cycled for two hours from Aylsham to Dereham to watch the race and cheer on his hero Bradley Wiggins.

Aaron Protheror, 14, from Scarning, tried to photograph the race from his prime spot at the front of the crowds outside Argos in Dereham.

He said: “There were more people than I expected there to be. It’s great fun and the cyclists must find it hectic because it’s really hot and because of the pressure.”

Imogen Stock, 12, from Beccles, said: “I liked it. All the motorbikes coming past was the best bit but the police coming past us waved. It was really quick and it was really hard to photograph.”

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