December 9 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Cycling fans were full of excitement last night after it was announced that parts of Essex will play host to some of the world’s leading riders at next year’s Tour de France.
Sport chiefs in the county are confident that thousands of people from across the region will turn up for the race as it travels through several towns in the area, including Braintree, during the third stage in July.
Community leaders have hailed the announcement as “fantastic news” and have spoken of their hopes that the chance to witness top athletes will inspire a new generation of cyclists.
Jo Beavis, Braintree District Council’s cabinet member for people and participation, said: “I am pleased that we can be part of this prestigious and internationally renowned event.
“With the increased popularity of the Tour it will no doubt help us reinforce our own health and well-being messages for our residents to take an active lifestyle.”
The third stage of the event will start in Cambridge and will then move to Essex before finishing on The Mall, in front of Buckingham Palace.
The route will enter Essex from the north of Saffron Walden and will then travel through parts of Uttlesford, Braintree, Chelmsford and Epping Forest.
There could also be two home-grown competitors in the race in the form of Team Sky’s Ian Stannard and Movistar’s Alex Dowsett, who are both from Chelmsford.
Ann Naylor, county council cabinet member for public health and wellbeing said: “Cycling is not only a fast-growing global sport but a great way of keeping fit and healthy.
“It’s wonderful that we may have two inspirational Essex-born stars riding through their home county and I’m sure the spectacle of the peloton flashing through our towns and countryside will be a brilliant way to showcase our county to the world.”
Exciting is also building among cycling enthusiasts and sport bosses in Suffolk, who are confident fans from the county will also turn up to watch the event.
Colin Grogan, Suffolk County Council’s sport, health and inclusion development manager, said: “It is not everyday you get that level of athlete passing by the county and if people can be inspired by them and see them close up, hopefully it just gets them starting to consider taking it up themselves.
“I think there will be lots of people here interested to go down and see it go through Essex. I think there will be a huge amount of interest.”
For full details of the route, visit www.letour.com