Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 9°C

ESTD 1874 Search

The pigs are coming. Find out more about

Pigs Gone Wild

here.

Video/Gallery: Crowds come out in a tour de force as the Tour de France comes to Essex

Thousands of people flocked to Finchingfield to  greet the the Tour de France as they speed through the village.

Thousands of people flocked to Finchingfield to greet the the Tour de France as they speed through the village.

Archant

Our reporter Will Lodge and photographer Sarah Lucy Brown headed to Finchingfield today to watch the spectacle of the Tour de France roll through.

It was a day of superlatives for everyone we spoke to in the village, which was transformed for the event.

The village green and hillside became a sea of people, with many getting into their spot hours before any sign of the race came through.

It was like a magnet for people all over the region, with cycling fans travelling from Suffolk to see the action.

People were also drawn in by the big screen which showed the race live, before the almost 200 cyclists came right before the spectators’ eyes.

Ahead of the main event was the Caravan, a procession of floats and trucks promoting the race sponsors and giving out freebies or selling official merchandise.

For many it was the first time they had experienced the full extent of the Tour, with the TV coverage usually focusing on the racing itself.

Ian Fox, who lives in the neighbouring village of Great Bardfield, has seen the Tour de France in its native country before.

He said: “I find it absolutely amazing how the British over the last two days, and here in Essex today, have really come out in their hoardes for this – especially when it is only really in the last two or three years people have taken more of an interest in the sport.

“It has been like this in France for the last 30 years, but this is amazing.

“I would say the turn-out here is probably better than what you might get in some smaller French villages simply because they are used to it.”

Paul Sadler, 47, travelled from Huntingdon with his friends and family to watch the race in Finchingfield.

He said: “We came down last night and stayed at the Spains Hall caravan park.

“The atmosphere is fantastic, absolutely superb. I am shocked at how many people are here.

“Essex can definitely challenge Yorkshire in terms of support.”

Ahead of the race, he said: ““I hope to catch a glimpse of Froome, and Nibali as well. Hopefully the narrow bridge will slow it down a bit, that’s why we have chosen this spot.”

Fundraisers Melissa Collett, Madeleine Heath and Kathryn Rowland were in the village collecting donations for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices and handing out flags.

Madeleine said: “A lot of people are donating and we hope the flags will give us some TV coverage today too.”

Niall Fitzgerald was one of 25 riders from Boxford Bike Club to make the trip to Finchingfield, travelling on part of the route.

He said: “This is the closest point to our club and it is so busy, it’s brilliant.

“I have never ridden to such a crowd before, and never will again.”

Around 25 riders from the Ipswich Bicycle Club also made the journey.

Boo Dendy said: “I was in France last year at Alpe d’Huez [the most famous mountain climb in the Tour de France], but this here in Essex was just great.

“It is fantastic that both Yorkshire and Essex turned out, whether you’re into cycling or not, and showed off what a beautiful place it is.

“The whole length and breadth of Finchingfield has been decorated and made this into a celebration of cycling.”

Fellow club rider Adam Keer added: “It was my first time watching the Tour live, and it was fantastic.

“I’ve never been to Finchingfield before but they really put on a spectacle and I will definitely be coming back.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Brown tail moth caterpillars found on trees near ASDA, Western Way, Bury St Edmunds.

An infestation of potentially dangerous caterpillars in Bury St Edmunds has caused a supermarket chain to take the unusual step of cordoning off a piece of public land – for customer safety.

Christchurch Street Ipswich

An Ipswich tenant smashed every window of an alleged drug-dealer’s car because he believed police had failed to take action.

John Williams has decided to carve a tree stump on Eastgate Street in Bury St Edmunds.

Not many people would give up 200 hours of their life and ten weeks of work free of charge, but that is exactly what one retired Suffolk teacher is doing after coming across an “ugly” tree stump near his house.

The Suffolk Show 2015 - 
The grand parade.

The Suffolk Show has been a regular fixture on the calendars of generations of families and as this year’s event approaches, we thought we would test your knowledge of shows past and present.

Witham

People are being urged to be vigilant following a spate of burglaries in Witham and Braintree this week.

Emergency services are at the scene. Stock image.

Emergency services were called to a head-on crash in Ixworth Thorpe earlier this afternoon.

Abellio Greater Anglia

Mainline train services running through Manningtree experienced delays of up to 25 minutes this evening.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24