Ipswich: Town prepares to get on its bikes as Wiggins fever mounts!

BRITISH cycling’s golden summer could encourage thousands of people to get on their bikes as Ipswich prepares to welcome the start of this year’s top national event.

The Tour of Britain cycle race starts from the Ipswich Waterfront on September 9, and the event will be the highlight of a weekend of activities surrounding the race.

Cycling promoters are hoping Bradley Wiggins’ success in the Tour de France will inspire a new generation of budding cyclists – ahead of a month of major events across the county.

Wiggins is bidding to become the first Briton to win the Tour de France in the 109-year history of the event tomorrow when the race ends on the Champs Elysee in Paris. Cycling chiefs are also hoping for a clutch of gold medals at the Olympics.

The Tour of Britain and the Sky Ride have been brought together over the weekend of Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September to inspire people to get involved and get active.

The Tour Ride East Anglia kick starts the weekend’s activities on Saturday 8 September. The mass participation event gives cyclists the opportunity to take on the challenge of the Suffolk to Norfolk Tour of Britain stage route the day before the professionals.

Replicating the entire 200-kilometre stage from Ipswich to the Norfolk Showground, the Tour Ride East Anglia Pro Ride is also a great opportunity to raise cash for charity.

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Colin Noble, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for sport, said: “We have already seen an amazing turn out from the people of Suffolk to support events such as the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and the Olympic torch relay and this is another opportunity to create a carnival atmosphere in the county.”

After the race departs the Waterfront, people are encouraged to take to their bikes on a traffic-free ride around Ipswich as part of the Sky Ride.

Ipswich council leisure spokeswoman Bryony Rudkin said: “The start of the tour here on the Waterfront will put the national sporting focus firmly on Ipswich and we are pleased to be hosting this historic opening.

“We also have return of the Skyride local cycling event to the town and we want to encourage people of all ages and abilities to take part once they have witnessed the world’s best in action.”

Last year’s Tour of Britain stage through Suffolk and Norfolk was watched by around 150,000 people with a variety of events organised by communities before and after the race passed through including bicycle decorating competitions, BBQs, musical performances, cycle races for businesses and bouncy castles.

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