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Gallery: Cycling fans get rare treat as they meet riders from The Women’s Tour

17:41 11 May 2014

The start of Women's tour of Britain Stage 5. Harwich 
Matrix

The start of Women's tour of Britain Stage 5. Harwich Matrix

Top name cyclists mingled with the crowds in Essex today before riding out on the fifth and final stage of the first ever Women’s Tour of Britain.

The start of Women's tour of Britain Stage 5. Harwich 
The start of Women's tour of Britain Stage 5. Harwich

The fifth stage began in Dovercourt at 10am , and a huge number of spectators lined the beginning of the route to watch the cyclists sign on at the podium before the official start.

Racing proper got underway further along the route at Parkeston.

The assembled crowds, bolstered by cyclists taking part in the 21st annual Tour de Tendring fun cycle ride which set off 30 minutes behind the professional race, were the first to hear leading British rider Lizzie Armitstead was retiring from the race due to illness.

Peter Hodges, spokesman for the race organisers, said: “The starts are nice, a bit more relaxed, and people can actually see and speak to the riders, it is all open to the public.

“It has been encouraging to hear from the advance team or race organisers of crowds right along the route, though it is what we have come to expect of this area where people always turn out in support.”

Youngsters from Chase Lane Primary School had the chance to ride out over the start line ahead of the professionals.

Councillor Fred Nicholls, vice-chairman of Tendring District Council, said: “It is absolutely brilliant this has come to Tendring and put us on the map. The exposure we have had as a result can only be good, it has been excellent so far.

“The amount of people coming out in support both in Clacton at the end of stage three, here today, and along the route has been incredible.”

Ipswich Town take on bitter rivals Norwich City, in a Championship clash, at Carrow Road this lunchtime (12pm ko, Sky Sports).

Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy insists he is not happy just being a mid-table Championship boss and has revealed he will seek reassurances from owner Marcus Evans about the club’s ambition this summer.

The big day is finally here and right now Carrow Road will be filling up ahead of the Old Farm Derby – with a strong contingent of Ipswich fans.

Ipswich Town take on bitter rivals Norwich City at Carrow Road this lunchtime (12pm ko, Sky Sports).

David McGoldrick has revealed the dressing room inquest which sparked Ipswich Town’s upturn in form this month.

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy admits he has been surprised at just how fierce the rivalry is in the East Anglian derby.

Has ever an Ipswich-Norwich derby game been so hotly anticipated?

Wes Hoolahan has been pin-pointed as Norwich City’s key man by Ipswich Town ahead of Sunday’s East Anglian derby at Carrow Road (12pm ko, Sky Sports).

Ipswich Town star Josh Emmanuel is the star of the new edition of Kings of Anglia - which is now on sale.

David McGoldrick says Ipswich Town’s players owe their supporters an East Anglian derby victory on Sunday (12pm ko, Sky Sports).

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