September 17 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Hundreds of people lined the streets of Diss this lunchtime as 100 elite cyclists taking part in the latest stage of the Tour of Britain sped through the town.
People cheered and clapped as the leading pack of cyclists flew by at 12.20pm before the remaining group followed about five minutes later.
The athletes, which include world class sprinter Mark Cavendish, should have passed through Wymondham at about 1pm, before heading to Reepham for 1.35pm and finishing at the Sandringham Estate at about 2.45pm.
They set-off from Bury St Edmunds at 10.15am and had already passed trhough Ipswich and Eye before receiving a warm welcome to Norfolk in Diss.
Excitement in the town had built early with a performance from Brazilian street band Bloco Rabo De Foguete in the park - which sits next to the route - where games and a bouncy castle were also available for children.
Diss Town Mayor Mike Bardwell said: “I’ve been talking to people here today and everyone has just been really excited and looking forward to seeing it. The town is really buzzing and it’s bringing lots of people in.”
The town’s car parks filled quickly, and many cafes and retailers were enjoying a brisk trade as people from across south Norfolk travelled to the town to catch a glimpse of the cyclists.
Many had justled for the best view points along the roadsides with a few spectators standing on fences, sitting on the tops of vans and even bringing along milk crates to give youngsters in the crowd some added height.
Staking their position early was Simon and Anna Harvey, who had driven from Long Stratton, with sons Ben, eight, Oliver, six, and friend Jack, eight.
Cycling enthusiast Mr Harvey said: “I think the Tour coming through Norfolk and Suffolk is brilliant. Giving people the opportunity to see professioanl cyclists is great.”