Britain’s biggest bike race coming to Bury and Colchester

The Tour of Britain, the most prestigious cycle race in the country, is coming to Suffolk and Essex.

Bury St Edmunds will host the start of what could be the crucial seventh stage of the eight-day race and Colchester will be the finish destination.

The ToB will feature some of the best riders in the world, such as team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins, fourth in last year’s Tour de France and new hot shot Sky team-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen.

It will be a massive draw and thousands of spectators will crowd the streets of all the towns and villages along the 151km route, which will wind through some of the region’s prettiest countryside, to cheer the 96 racers from 16 pro teams.

Tourism chiefs will be expecting a big boost to the coffers of businesses as the riders and their support crews descend on the area for the stage, which takes place on Friday, September 17.

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The previous day’s racing will take the teams across Norfolk from King’s Lynn to Great Yarmouth and the final stage will be in London on Saturday, September 18.

“This year’s event sees The Tour of Britain race into several new regional venues, and for the first time ever we will have two stages take place in the East of England region, bringing the race to new audiences in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex,” said Michael Bennett, Technical Director of The Tour of Britain. “On the way from the Grand Depart to the final stage in London, riders will face tough routes and intense competition, while taking in some breathtaking views of our wonderful country.”

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Alex Paul, tourism manager of Choose Suffolk, said: “This will be a really good opportunity to showcase some of Suffolk’s finest areas and countryside to a national and international audience.

“We are really excited about this. It is a major professional cycling event and it is coming to Suffolk for the first time. It is fantastic and should draw in the crowds.”

Lynsey Alexander, sports cabinet member on St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said Bury would be “buzzing” when the tour arrived in west Suffolk and said: “It is a coup for the town, it really is. I think it is because we do our leisure services so well here. They could have chosen other places, but they chose us.”

- ITV will be covering the event daily in a live programme, plus evening highlights. The ToB starts in the north west on September 11.

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