Ipswich/Suffolk: County gears up to welcome cycling stars Steven Burke and Ross Edgar

The first stage of The Tour of Britain on Ipswich Waterfront Mark Cavendish at the start line - Sept

The first stage of The Tour of Britain on Ipswich Waterfront Mark Cavendish at the start line - September 2013

OLYMPIC champions are heading to the town – and they want to give people another taste of London 2012.

The first stage of the Tour of Britain leaves Ipswich Waterfront

The first stage of the Tour of Britain leaves Ipswich Waterfront

Cycling fans are celebrating after it was announced Ipswich has been selected to stage the grand final of Britain’s leading cycle race – the 2013 Tour Series.

In its fifth season of racing, the series will reach its climax in the town on Friday, June 14 as Suffolk makes its debut in the prestigious televised national race.

Short and spectator-friendly circuits will host the race – featuring the likes of London 2012 gold medallist Steven Burke and Commonwealth Games champion Ross Edgar, born in Newmarket – at 7pm, coming at the end of a day of cycling-themed activities and events.

Highlights of the race will be shown on ITV4.

Olympic champion Burke, a member of Team GB’s golden Men’s team pursuit quartet at the London Games, said: “It would be great to put on a brilliant show for the people of Ipswich.

“Staging the final is great for Ipswich. More and more people come out every year to watch these town centre races and building on from our success at the Olympics I hope more people come and watch us and take up the sport.”

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The Tour Series is a unique team-based series, pitting 10 of Britain’s leading teams against each other, with the all-important team victory on the night being the ultimate goal in the 11-round Series.

Steve Grimwood, the owner of Elmy Cycles in Ipswich who helped organise the European Cyclo-Cross Championships held in Chantry Park last November, said it was a real coup for Ipswich – and named the three places where it could be held.

He said: “They might want to promote the Waterfront, the Cornhill, or have it at Portman Road. Either way, it’s fantastic news for Ipswich.”

Councillor Colin Noble, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for responsible for sport, said it was “fantastic news”.

He added: “After such an exciting summer of sport in 2012, events like these continue to inspire people to get active themselves.”

Emma Hibbert, head of corporate affairs for Adnams, said: “Adnams is delighted to sponsor the final stages of The Tour Series. The race in Ipswich promise to offer a thrilling spectacle.”

And there could be more good news. Olympic heroes Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish memorably brought out thousands of fans as Ipswich kick-started the 2012 Tour of Britain last September.

Recent reports suggested this year’s event will skip Suffolk entirely. But ahead of next Thursday’s official announcement, Mr Grimwood offered precious hope.

He said: “(Missing Ipswich) is not what I’ve heard. I’ve heard there might be a good chance of getting it again – we haven’t heard the last of the announcements yet.”

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