Where in Suffolk will 2017 Tour of Britain visit? View Newmarket to Aldeburgh route map here
- Credit: citizenside.com
People living along a 183km stretch of Suffolk roads will witness the world’s greatest cyclists race past their doorsteps during Britain’s “premier” road event, which for the first time features a stage hosted entirely within the county.
Tour of Britain organisers today announced details of the Suffolk stage on Friday, September 8, which starts in Newmarket and finishes in Aldeburgh passing through Mildenhall, Bury St Edmunds, Framlingham, Woodbridge and dozens of picturesque villages.
The sixth stage, which also takes in Eye, Saxmundham, Leiston and north Ipswich, passes within a mile of 49 Suffolk schools offering opportunities to inspire the next generation of cyclists.
Sir Robert Hitcham’s Primary School in Framlingham said it would be “taking full advantage”.
Headteacher Helen Picton added: “We will line the route with all 350 of our pupils and our 40-plus staff to cheer the cyclists on. The school will include a large element of teaching and learning around cycling and its health and emotional wellbeing benefits.”
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Tour sponsors OVO Energy are said to be “very keen to engage with school children around the route” with details expected soon.
Suffolk County Council (SCC) will also be encouraging schools to get involved as well as businesses and the community.
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Colin Grogan, sport, health and inclusion development manager at SCC said it was a “fantastic first” for the county to host an entire stage. “The race will showcase our county, heritage and iconic landmarks and bring major investment into the county, while providing a fantastic opportunity for us all to enjoy a wonderful international sporting spectacle,” he added.
“Thousands of people are expected to line the route to catch a glimpse of the world’s top riders and spur them on. It is an event everyone can celebrate.”
The Tour of Britain’s fourth visit to Suffolk, which follows its first outing in Tendring, is the latest addition to the county’s expanding programme of prestigious sporting events. Suffolk is set to host the first Great East Run in September, and has welcomed the Women’s Tour and Skyride in recent years.
John Clough, director of Sport Suffolk said these events “put Suffolk on the map”.
Businesses are also expected to benefit with the 2015 Tour of Britain estimated to have generated £4.5million for the East Anglian economy including £2.2m specifically for Suffolk.
Suffolk Chamber of Commerce’s president Sarah Howard said it was a “great opportunity” for Suffolk to “project its many strengths and attractions to a global audience”. She said the event also offered business the chance to promote themselves to thousands of visitors and “celebrate the feel good factor generated by the tour”.
Suffolk brewer Adnams, which has supported cycling events in the county since 2011, will be sponsoring the Best British Rider competition. Emma Hibbert, marketing director at Adams said: “Having an entire stage in Suffolk is really exciting and doubly so for us as it starts and ends in towns that Adnams has a strong association with.”
Jill Korwin, director of Forest Heath District Council, has welcomed Newmarket’s starring role in the race. “Newmarket is one of Suffolk’s defining towns and we are thrilled that stage six will be starting here,” she added.
“The Tour of Britain is a perfect saddle to saddle match of the international home of horse racing as both present elite levels of sporting achievement.”
Andy Jarvis, strategic director for Suffolk Coastal District Council said cycling had been “very much on the agenda” since Felixstowe hosted three of The Women’s Tour in 2014 and he was “delighted” to see its return.
Mr Jarvis said the Tour benefitted tourism and the economy as well as inspiring more people to get involved in healthy living. “We will be building on the success of 2014 to make this year an ever bigger celebration of sport and sporting excellence.”
Abdul Razaq, director of pubic health and protection at SCC, said the Tour would be a “much loved fixture in Suffolk’s summer calendar”. “The race will not only bring people to Suffolk, it will encourage more people to take up cycling and live a more active and healthy lifestyle contributing to our ambition to make Suffolk England’s most active county.”
Tour of Britain race director Mick Bennett said: “Having worked with Suffolk County Council since 2010 we are delighted that we now have the opportunity for a full stage of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain in the county.”
Previous cycling tours in Suffolk and north Essex
The Tour of Britain’s first visit to the region was in 2010 when stage seven was held between Bury St Edmunds and Colchester.
It returned to Bury the following year, again during stage seven, but on this occasion headed north to Sandringham in Norfolk.
In 2012, Ipswich hosted the opening stage, which saw the riders race through Suffolk to the Royal Norfolk Showground. The Tour returned in 2015 when stage seven finished in Ipswich.
The region has also been well represented in the Women’s Tour, with the first competition visiting twice in 2014 – stage three from Felixstowe to Clacton and stage five between Harwich and Bury.
The 2015 Women’s Tour kicked off stage one with a race across Suffolk from Bury St Edmunds to Aldeburgh, where Lizze Armistead crashed out after celebrating victory in the coastal town.
Stage one of the 2016 Women’s Tour was from Southwold to Norwich.