Norfolk and Suffolk prepare for the return of the Tour of Britain
PUBLISHED: 16:10 08 May 2015 | UPDATED: 16:10 08 May 2015
Some of the world’s best cyclists will race through the heart of Norfolk when the Tour of Britain returns to the county for the first time in three years this autumn.
Organisers of the UK’s most popular free-to-watch live sporting spectacle have revealed that Norfolk and Suffolk will host the seventh and penultimate stage of the professional cycle race on September 12.
Setting off from Fakenham Racecourse at about mid-morning, the colourful peloton will whizz through Reepham, Aylsham, Norwich, Wymondham and Attleborough before leaving the county through Thetford.
The 225km stage will finish in Ipswich.
It will be first time Norfolk and Suffolk have hosted the event since 2012 when 150,000 people lined the streets to cheer on their cycling heroes. The 2011 and 2012 races brought an economic boost of more than £3m to the counties.
Paul Smyth, chairman of the communities committee at Norfolk County Council, said: “In previous years the Tour of Britain has brought significant economic investment into Norfolk and proved to be a hugely popular event, so the race returning to the county is welcome news.
“We are the only east of England stage and as well as giving a boost to Norfolk’s profile and businesses, it may also lead to increased cycling among residents, with consequent health benefits.”
This year’s event is sponsored nationally by Friends Life and has been brought to the region by Norfolk and Suffolk county councils, Active Norfolk, Adnams, district councils and Norwich City Council.
In the build-up to the event, Active Norfolk plans to host a range of Tour-related activities, including cycle challenges for schoolchildren, workplace initiatives and cycling sessions for young and older people.
Details of the exact route have not yet been finalised and teams set to take part in the Tour will be revealed closer to the time.
Previous competitors have included Mark Cavendish and Sir Bradley Wiggins.
Mick Bennett, race director of Friends Life Tour of Britain organiser SweetSpot, said: “We are pleased to be able to resume our partnership with Norfolk and Suffolk county councils and return to an area where we know we can look forward to tremendous support at the roadside.
“In the past we have seen some of the race’s biggest ever crowds in the two counties, so are sure this September will prove no different.”
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