Bury St Edmunds: Elite tour cyclists will be welcomed to the town


- Credit: Archant

News that Britain’s first elite staged cycle race for women is to finish in west Suffolk next spring has been greeted with enthusiasm across the board.

The final stage of the inaugural Women’s Tour of Britain, which will feature the world’s top female cyclists, will run from Harwich to Bury St Edmunds, ending in the historic market town on May 11.

West Suffolk Wheelers cycling club, which has seen an increase in membership from 100 to 400 in the past two years, believes hosting the finish of such a high profile event will generate even more interest in the booming sport.

Business and council leaders hope the event will put Bury on the map and provide a welcome boost to trade.

Although the line-up for the race is yet to be announced, it is likely to attract national cycling stars such as Lizzie Armitstead, Dani King and Helen Wyman.

Barry Denny, vice chairman of West Suffolk Wheelers, described the news as “brilliant for Bury”.

He said: “Cycling is absolutely booming at the moment and the tour coming to Bury in May will be a great precursor to the Tour de France, which is coming to the UK next year.

“Membership in our club is up across all disciplines from competitive cycling to leisure riding and triathlons so it is already booming – this excellent news will only enhance that position.”

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Sara Mildmay-White, St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said she was delighted that Bury would host the final stage of the tour.

“We have a wide and active cycling community and in recent years we have hosted stages of the men’s tour, which have become celebrations of all things cycling,” she said.

“We are really looking forward to welcoming cyclists and spectators from all over the country.”

Mark Cordell chief executive of the town centre business improvement group, ourburystedmunds, said they were working with the county council and tour organisers to ensure that local businesses achieved “maximum benefit” from the event.

He added: “It’s fabulous news and a real feather in the cap for the town.

“We want to take advantage of the fact that high profile women cyclists will be visiting Bury and we will definitely be looking to make the most of this opportunity.”

The event will begin in Oundle, Northamptonshire on May 7 with stage finishes in Northampton, Bedford and Clacton-on-Sea in the opening three days.

Stage four will start in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire with the riders heading to Welwyn Garden City.

Exact details of the route will be announced in early 2014.