Tour of Britain cycle race is coming back to Norfolk

Norfolk is set for another multi-million pound boost after it was confirmed that the Tour of Britain cycle race will come back to the county in September.

The exciting event brought over �5m to Norfolk and �2.5m to Suffolk when they each hosted a stage - Suffolk in conjunction with Essex - last year.

It also drew an estimated 130,000 people to the roadside in Norfolk and 120,000 in Suffolk.

Now, after months of lobbying, the two counties have been successful in jointly hosting a stage of the UK's biggest professional cycle race on September 17 - with the route starting at Bury St Edmunds and finishing at the Sandringham Estate.

The Norfolk and Suffolk stage will be the penultimate one, with the final stage in London on September 18.

A host of organisations have provided support and funding to enable make the return happen - including Southwold brewer Adnams, which will be the lead sponsor of the Norfolk and Suffolk stage and is already the official beer of the Tour of Britain.

In Norfolk, the county council, South Norfolk Council, Broadland District Council and the King's Lynn and West Norfolk Council have dug deep. Mott Macdonald and May Gurney will also be providing support.

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Derrick Murphy, Leader of Norfolk County Council, said: 'Confirmation of the route and the date will begin to build the excitement for the return of the biggest sporting event that this county has ever seen.

'The benefits of hosting a stage of the Tour of Britain are huge - with our tourism industry and those in related trades particularly set to gain enormously from the regional, national and international attention that the Tour brings.

'I am also delighted that we have managed to secure the race on a Saturday – as many who wanted to see the race last year may have struggled to do so due to work commitments.

'As was the case last September, Tour of Britain day in both Norfolk and Suffolk will allow local communities to put on events and come together in large numbers to enjoy the race.'

Setting off from Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds on Saturday morning, the race will head through some of Suffolk's finest countryside and villages for around 60 miles, before travelling roughly the same distance through Norfolk - arriving in Diss and heading on through Wymondham and Reepham on the way to an iconic finish on the Sandringham Estate.

Large crowds of residents and visitors are expected to line the route to watch one hundred of the world's leading cyclists compete for the yellow jersey – with former tour riders including Olympic, world and Commonwealth champions.

The television coverage of the race in more than 100 countries around the globe offers both counties an opportunity to showcase locations along the route to huge audiences – providing a significant potential tourism benefit.

In Suffolk, the county council will be working with Suffolk Sport, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Ipswich Borough Council, Mid Suffolk District Council and Babergh District Council.

Jane Storey, Suffolk County Council's deputy leader, said: 'Last year, the Tour added to Suffolk's already thriving �1.75bn tourism industry by bringing in millions of pounds of extra trade. We plan to build on that this year.

'The tour also acts as an inspiration to support our campaign to get 25,000 more people more active by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.'

Andy Wood, Chief Executive of Adnams, said: 'This is a prestigious event which will undoubtedly boost tourism in our region. We congratulate Suffolk and Norfolk county councils for working together to make it happen.'

Hugh Roberts, Chief Executive of SweetSpot Group, the organisers and promoters of The Tour of Britain, said: 'Over the winter we have worked very closely with Suffolk County Council, Norfolk County Council and local businesses to ensure that we can once again bring The Tour of Britain to both counties.

'In 2010 we saw massive crowds lining the route, so I hope this September to see more of the same, as there is clearly a fantastic appetite for cycling in the region.'

? The Norfolk and Suffolk stage of the Tour of Britain has been chosen as the first of 4 'Tour Rides' in 2011.

A Tour Ride is a mass participation bike ride, where around 2,000 participants register and pay to take part in a ride along the route – with their registration fees going to Prostate Cancer Charity.

The ride will take place on Sunday July 24.