Tour of Britain fever is set to grip Suffolk again as the county is to host the final stage of the prestigious men's cycling race.

Civic leaders have welcomed news that the UK's biggest cycling event will be returning on September 8.

However, this year the east Suffolk district will be hosting the final stage of the Lloyds Bank Tour of Britain Men, meaning the overall race winner will be crowned when the prestigious professional event finishes in Felixstowe after starting the final stage in Lowestoft.

READ MORE: Tour of Britain will be 'great' for Felixstowe and Suffolk

Cyclists set off for the Suffolk stage of the men's Tour of BritainCyclists set off for the Suffolk stage of the men's Tour of Britain (Image: Charlotte Bond) Last year, stage 5 of the men's tour started and finished in Felixstowe after winding around the county on a warm early autumn day, with Belgian rider Wout Van Aert winning the stage on his way to overall victory in the race.

Prior to this, the men's race had last visited the county in 2017, while Lowestoft has not been visited by the tour since 2012.

Reacting to news of the tour's return, Kate Cain, manager of Felixstowe Business Improvement District (BID), which supports businesses in the town, said: "It is fantastic for Felixstowe. It brought a lot of people into the town last year. We saw soaring footfall levels.

"We are hoping to capitalise on it this year by having some events around the Love Felixstowe Festival."

These events will include beachside entertainments, workshops, music, market stalls and Love Green Felixstowe activities, which promote eco-friendly practices.

READ MORE: Tour of Britain to come to Suffolk for stage in September

The Mayor of Lowestoft, councillor Nasima Begum said: “It is wonderful news that Lowestoft will play host to the final stage of this year’s Lloyds Bank Tour of Britain Men.  

The Suffolk stage of last year's tour saw 100 cyclists take partThe Suffolk stage of last year's tour saw 100 cyclists take part (Image: Charlotte Bond) "This is a great opportunity to promote Lowestoft, bring new people to the town and provide a boost to our local economy."

Annie Willey, brand manager with tourist organisation Suffolk Coast, said: "Hosting the final stage of the Tour of Britain along the Suffolk Coast is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the brilliant cycling offer we have here to both national and international audiences.

"We are lucky to have a wonderful range of cycling routes, including the recently launched Wolf Way, which is proving to be extremely popular with cyclists of all abilities.

"Our strong cycling offer will bring people here for both days out and longer stays, benefiting tourism and hospitality businesses all year round.  

"The Suffolk Coast will be running a marketing campaign in advance of and during the race to put the destination at the forefront of people's minds for first class cycling experiences."

Suffolk Coast's marketing director Julian Evans said: "This major international event is sure to raise interest in and awareness of the Suffolk Coast nationally and internationally.

Families enjoyed last year's Tour of BritainFamilies enjoyed last year's Tour of Britain (Image: Charlotte Bond) "This weekend there is a 112-mile overnight ride from London to Dunwich, called the Dunwich Dynamo, 20,000 keen cyclists have already visited the Dunwich Dynamo website.

"Businesses along the route are making preparations to host thousands of weary cyclists.

"The Tour of Britain is an international event and will attract significantly more people to the area, many seeking hospitality and accommodation, a fantastic opportunity for local businesses."

The final stage will start from Lowestoft seafront and pass through villages and towns which will be familiar to riders from previous tours, before the overall 2024 Lloyds Bank Tour of Britain Men's champion is crowned in Felixstowe.

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Cllr Sarah Whitelock, East Suffolk Council’s cabinet member for communities, culture, leisure and tourism, said: “We are thrilled to see the return of the Lloyds Bank Tour of Britain Men this year, which is especially exciting as the entire final stage will be held within east Suffolk.

READ MORE: Road closures in Felixstowe ahead of Tour of Britain race
“National sporting events such as the Tour of Britain bring huge benefits to the area, attracting visitors to the district and providing a real boost for local businesses and communities.

Crowds enjoyed the spectacle of last year's Tour of BritainCrowds enjoyed the spectacle of last year's Tour of Britain (Image: Charlotte Bond) "We are looking forward to September and seeing this amazing sporting spectacle in our district.”

Last year, 100 cyclists set off for the Suffolk stage of the tour to the sound of cheering crowds after the participants had been paraded to the watching audience.

Their route took the cyclists through 200km of the county's tranquil countryside and the race was screened live on ITV4 as they passed through Kesgrave, Ipswich, Needham Market, Stowmarket, Hadleigh, Framlingham, Leiston and Woodbridge before returning to Felixstowe.

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