Suffolk: Gearing up for long-awaited arrival of Bradley Wiggins and Tour of Britain cyclists

SUFFOLK is ready for the long-awaited arrival of more than 100 world-class cyclists taking part in the Tour of Britain.

Olympic and Tour de France hero Bradley Wiggins will line-up with the likes of Mark Cavendish and a host of names from the cycling world at Ipswich Waterfront tomorrow morning.

Thousands of spectators will cheer riders on as the Tour of Britain peloton moves from Ipswich along the Suffolk coast, with the 200km first stage finishing in Norfolk.

Councillor Colin Noble, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for sport said: “Excitement has been building around the Tour of Britain since the Tour de France and the fantastic cycling success of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“I am certain that the ‘Wiggins’ and ‘Cavendish’ effect will take hold and we will see tens of thousands of people flock to the roadside to watch the world’s greatest cyclists take to the streets of Suffolk.”

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Tour of Britain fever has already gripped Suffolk residents with around 200 people attending the Tour of Britain Roadshow in Leiston on Wednesday for top tips about their bikes.

Leiston resident Chris Betson said: “On the Continent stage racing has been a part of life for decades and while the race itself may only take 15 minutes to pass, the build up and festivities before and after can often run into days.

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“I look forward to this tomorrow when I expect a lot of excitement and activity in the Post Office Square at about 11am.

“It may not be a match for what goes on in France, Spain or Italy but we are new to this and as spectators we will need to go some to match the recent achievements of our road cyclists.”

Various activities have been arranged around the county tomorrow starting in Ipswich with a cycling roadshow from 11am to 7pm on the Waterfront outside University Campus Suffolk including free bike checks and repairs, safety advice and Tour of Britain giveaways.

In Kesgrave, a charity fun day is being held at The Bell Inn with a cycling challenge, barbecue and live music.

A family fun day extravaganza, organised by the rotary clubs of Woodbridge and Woodbridge Deben, Lions Club of Woodbridge and Inner Wheel Club of Woodbridge, will celebrate the Tour of Britain in Woodbridge’s Kingston Field at 11am. There will be stalls, games, music and competitions as well as sponsored cycle rides of 25km, 50km or 100km.

Last year, around 150,000 people saw the Tour pass through the region.

And organisers are urging fans to catch a glimpse of the riders from Christchurch Park as well as the Waterfront as the riders set off.

Race director Mick Bennett said: “Crowds for the Tour have been unprecedented for the previous two years and I have also spoken to racers, who competed in the Tour de France, who said they have never seen crowds like those at the Tour of Britain.

“The event is also on people’s doorsteps and is a chance to see the best riders in the world.”

All eight stages of the Tour of Britain will be shown live on ITV4.

See linked stories, above right for full route details.

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