March 17 2014 Latest news:
By Kate Scotter
Sunday, September 9, 2012
The sun shone brightly as thousands of families descended on the Norfolk Showground to watch an exciting climax to the East Anglia stage of the Tour of Britain.
Fans lined the final kilometre around the Costessey venue as they awaited some of the world’s top professional riders including cycling heroes Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins.
The noise was deafening as the peloton entered the showground and negotiated the final turns towards the finishing straight.
Hopes of seeing current road race champion Cav in a trademark race-winning sprint were dashed after the Manxman was brought down in a crash – but the 25,000 to 30,000-strong crowd erupted with cheers as they watched his fellow Team Sky team mate Luke Rowe claim the win.
Ahead of the 200km-long race finish, which had started in Ipswich at 10am, families could be seen enjoying the fun and games on offer, picnicking on the grass, tucking into ice creams, watching all the action on a live big screen and sampling food and drink at the food fair, part of the EDP Adnams Norfolk Food and Drink Festival.
Meanwhile, stilt jumpers and a live band entertained crowds and people got into the competitive spirit as they went head-to-head in a stationary bike race.
Phillip Wilkinson, 40, from Tuttington, near Aylsham, who was at the showground with his wife Rachel and their twins Freya and Henry, both seven, said: “We’ve really enjoyed it. It’s good to see cycling superstars on your doorstep and it’s been really exciting for the children.”
Vanessa Tindale, who had travelled from Lincoln with her husband Roger to see the race, said: “It was exciting. It was a shame they crashed because we were hoping Mark Cavendish would win.
“It’s been really nice to look around the stalls and to have the food fair combined.”
After the race had finished, crowds flocked to the Team Sky bus to catch a glimpse of Wiggo and Cav.
Tour de France winner and Olympic gold medallist pleased fans when he poked his head out of the team coach.
Some lucky fans also got the chance to grab race winner Rowe’s autograph as the 22-year-old rider headed over to the team car.
Richard Gaul, 38, who had travelled from Leicestershire to watch the race with his sons Thomas, five, and Toby, two, said: “We’ve had a lovely day. It’s a nice place to come and watch the racing.”