People urged to line Norfolk and Suffolk’s streets to see Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish ride the Tour of Britain
The people of Norfolk and north Suffolk are being urged not to miss a golden opportunity to be part of an Olympic legacy as two of the biggest names in cycling head to our region.
Details have been published of where people across the region will be able to see sporting heroes Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish take part in the Tour of Britain next month.
The street-by-street guide comes after Tour de France winner Wiggins was named in the Team Sky squad for the race less than a month after adding Olympic gold to his historic yellow jersey win.
Joining him in the Tour of Britain, which begins with the Norfolk and Suffolk stage on September 9, will be world road race champion Cavendish, a two-stage winner in the race last year and the first British rider to win the green jersey in the Tour de France.
Last year, 150,000 people lined the streets of Norfolk to watch the cycling spectacle - and the Wiggo-effect is expected to draw in a further 100,000 people and bring an extra �1m cash boost to the local economy.
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Barry Stone, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for culture, said: 'We are very pleased to have the tour for the third year running and even more pleased that Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish will be riding as it really will bring out the crowds to watch.
'It was marvellous seeing crowds for the Jubilee and torch relay, and for this cycle race, with the Bradley Wiggins-effect, it will be brilliant.
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'Last year it brought �3m into the economy and we will probably expect another �1m because of the Bradley Wiggins effect. There were 150,000 people last year and it could easily be another 100,000.
'It is a brilliant boost for Norfolk and Suffolk, especially as it is the first stage.'
The Adnams-supported East Anglia stage of the country's biggest road race will see the peloton of nearly 100 riders follow a route from Ipswich, through part of Suffolk, including Lowestoft and Blundeston, before arriving in Norfolk.
They will then take in Great Yarmouth, Coltishall, Reepham, Dereham and Easton before finishing at the Norfolk Showground - where the free Taste the Best of Norfolk Food and Drink Festival and Family Fun Day will be held as part of the EDP Adnams Norfolk Food and Drink Festival, which is held in association with Norfolk County Council.
Andy Wood, chief executive of Adnams, said: 'I'm genuinely pleased the first stage of the Tour of Great Britain is in the wonderful counties of Norfolk and Suffolk.
'We are delighted to be title sponsors of the stage and to think we are going to see real star names riding, means we are going to see an even bigger boost to the economy and hope the legacy, which is quite the in word at the moment, is to encourage people to get on their bikes.'
Wiggins will become the first winner of the Tour de France to race in The Tour of Britain, while for the second successive September the reigning world road race champion will line-up for the Tour of Britain, thanks to Cavendish's participation.
The race will come towards the end of Wiggins' best ever season, having clinched overall victories in Paris Nice, the Tour de Romandie and the Criterium Dauphine stage races, before winning the Tour de France and Olympic time trial gold on home roads.
The 32-year-old, who missed last year's event, said: 'The Tour of Britain is always special. Every year we've done it, the crowds have turned out en masse.
'Because of where it comes in the year, it's a celebration of the British cycling year up to that point. It's been the most successful year in British cycling so this year's Tour of Britain is going to be the most successful in terms of British celebration of cycling and everything we have achieved this year.
'That in itself is going to be quite something. I'm not quite sure what to expect really. Cav's riding as well. It's going to be a great week.'
Ahead of the Norfolk and Suffolk stage, people have the chance to hop on their bikes and cycle the route themselves.
The Tour Ride East Anglia will be held on September 8 – the day before the Tour of Britain's grand departure in Ipswich.
Riders will have the choice of a Pro Ride event, replicating the entire 200-kilometre stage from Ipswich to the Norfolk Showground, while a shorter 92km Challenge Ride will take cyclists from Great Yarmouth to the finish.
For details on how to take part in the Tour Ride, go to www.tourride.co.uk.
To see a street-by-street guide to the Norfolk and Suffolk stage of the Tour of Britain, go to this story online at www.edp24.co.uk.
Don't miss Thursday's EDP for more information on how to get into cycling as part of our weekly Tour of Britain series.