Suffolk/Norfolk: ‘Tour of Britain fever’ gripping counties as race launched + route map

MARKET towns and villages were urged to take advantage of the tourism and economic benefits of the country’s premier cycle race following the official launch of Norfolk and Suffolk’s Tour of Britain stage.

Market towns and villages were urged to take advantage of the tourism and economic benefits of the country’s premier cycle race after the official launch of Suffolk and Norfolk’s Tour of Britain stage.

A professional cyclist, council leaders and sponsors gathered at Diss on the Suffolk/Norfolk border yesterday to promote the event.

Officials from Suffolk and Norfolk county councils said Tour of Britain fever was already building in the counties ahead of the 195km race that will take place on September 17.

Organisers are calling on local businesses to get ready for the internationally-renowned cycle race, and hope that even more people will line the streets for the penultimate tour stage, which this year is on a Saturday.

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The race will set off from Angel Hill, in Bury St Edmunds, and will transfer between the two counties in Diss, having raced through 60 miles of scenic Suffolk countryside and villages, including Lavenham, Cockfield, Hadleigh, Hintlesham, Ipswich, Witnesham, Ashbocking, Helmingham, Debenham, Thorndon and Eye.

Having reached Diss, the race will head through about 60 miles of Norfolk, on the way to an iconic finish on the Sandringham Estate.

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Last year an estimated 120,000 people lined the roadside in Suffolk and 130,000 in Norfolk.

Jane Storey, acting leader at Suffolk County Council, said: “The spectacle of the tour working its way through Suffolk’s wonderful landscapes will showcase our county to visitors from across the UK and around the world.

“Last year, the tour added to Suffolk’s already thriving �1.75billion tourism industry by bringing in millions of pounds of extra trade. We plan to build on that this year.

“The tour also acts as an inspiration to support our campaign to get 25,000 more people more active by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Over 100 of the world’s top athletes will be in Suffolk to inspire us.

“Cycling is taking off in Suffolk and the tour will inspire even greater interest.”

Councillor John Griffiths MBE, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “It is an honour to be chosen to host this major sporting event for a second year in a row. Last year was a great success.”

Bringing the UK’s biggest professional cycle race back to the two counties has also been made possible by Southwold-based brewer Adnams sponsoring the stage of the race.

The East Anglian Daily Times is a media partner in the stage.

The television coverage of the race in more than 100 countries around the globe offers both counties a huge opportunity to showcase locations along the route to huge audiences.

The Suffolk and Norfolk Tour Ride will begin on Sunday July 24, with the Suffolk and Norfolk Tour of Britain leg starting later in the year on September 17.

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