September 23 2014 Latest news:
Friday, May 9, 2014
Around 1,000 people came to watch the end of today’s Women’s Tour stage in Clacton.
The area around the finishing line on Marine Parade West was packed with people, along with hundreds more around the rest of the route.
A number of school children also came to watch, but not before taking part in their own cycle race down the finishing straight.
Clacton resident Valerie Simpson said: “I was very excited to come down for something big going on locally.
“I do watch the Tour de France on TV but most of this kind of thing is out of this area, so when it is local you should come along to support - we also hope to go to Harwich on Sunday for the start of that stage as well.”
Julie Knights, also from Clacton, added: “I’m not really a cycling fan but came down for the sense of occasion and it is very important we get events like this in Clacton.”
Mark Platt, Tendring district councillor for tourism and events, said: “We are absolutely delighted.
“At Tendring District Council we always want to be a little bit different and for us to have two stages is absolutely wonderful for us and all the people in Tendring.
“There’s been huge amounts of excitement leading up to the event and the crowds are fantastic.
“We are not only hoping for repeat visitors but also hoping for people to come from overseas.”
Catherine Smyth and Owen Doherty had travelled up from East London for the event.
Mr Doherty said: “We are cycling fans and this was the easiest stage to get to.
“It is our first time in Clacton and it looks very nice, especially the sandy beach which is impressive and the gardens along the seafront - we would definitely come back here in the future.”
Colin Ward, from Clacton, added: “I’m very pleased it has come to Clacton and I hope the men’s tour comes here next year too.”
Sarah Connolly, one of the race organising team, said: “Watching the crowds from the team car on the course was amazing, especially all the school children who were out along the route.
“Essex has done so well. It felt like every school in the county was lining the course along with lots of other spectators, at every roundabout, road and pub.
“It was a really good reception - every day we think it can’t be matched and it is just a nice if not better.
“Riders from all over the world have been saying this is one of the best organised races with the best crowds they have been to, and they really love it. They all want to come back, the support is so good.”