September 24 2014 Latest news:
Friday, May 9, 2014
Hundreds of cheering spectators lined the streets of Felixstowe yesterday morning to show their support for the cyclists setting off on the latest stage of the Women’s Tour.
Flag-waving school pupils, cycling club members and residents of the town all gathered at the seafront to watch the world’s top women riders get under way.
With the sun shining and a fresh sea breeze, Felixstowe was hoping for a positive reflection in the sporting spotlight.
Denise Thomas, 55, from Felixstowe, said it was “absolutely brilliant” for the town.
“It puts Felixstowe on the map – it’s a beautiful day and I think it will encourage people to come and visit - it looks fantastic,” she added.
Retired Felixstowe couple Michael and Christine Bays also welcomed the positive publicity.
“I think it’s fantastic that people will get to see all of our wonderful facilities – it’s a great place to visit and when the sun is shining like today it’s even better.”
Peter Long, 69, whose home is close to the starting line on Undercliff Road West, said events like today’s were essential in drawing visitors to Felixstowe.
“I was really pleased to see it,” he said. “We’ve just had the fun run and a vintage car rally here and it’s really important for the town to have lots of activities going on to bring as many people in as possible. It’s become very run-down over recent years and the more that we can do to upgrade it and attract more visitors, the better.”
Dozens of cyclists from across the region also attended to watch the competitive event and take part in the associated “Beat the Incline” event – a short climb up Convalescent Hill.
Plomesgate Cycle Club’s Caroline Goldsworth said she thought it was great for women cyclists and hoped it would encourage more to take part.
And Linda Cassidy, one of eight members of Ipswich Cycling Club taking part in the ride out said it was “an honour” to be involved.
“It’s quite exciting,” she added. “We’ve only recently got into cycling and things like this will hopefully bring more women to the sport, which has predominantly been a man’s sport.”
Younger cycling fans were also invited to get involved with the race celebrations, with many school pupils spectating and taking part in the climb.
Trimley St Martin’s Year Six teacher Jo Matthews cycled six miles from Kirton with pupils Isabelle Coe and Ellie Vince to watch the action and enjoy the atmosphere.
“These girls have just done their cycling proficiency so it’s quite exciting to do the ride and see all the competitors,” she said.