LAVENHAM and Hadleigh gave a rousing reception to the cyclists taking part in the seventh stage of The Tour of Britain as it passed through the two villages on Saturday.
Lining the route were hundreds of residents keen to get a good view of the riders as they whizzed through the towns in a matter of seconds – preceded by a large entourage of motorcylists and race cars.
The 200-kilometre leg of the race to Sandringham in Norfolk started in Bury St Edmunds and made its way across country via Lavenham and Monks Eleigh, arriving in Hadleigh just after 11am.
“We heard they were 15 minutes late leaving Bury so we thought they would be much later arriving here,” said Hadleigh mayor Penny Cook.
“But they were only slightly later than scheduled which was amazing. They were so fast.”
She added: “I couldn’t guess how many people came along to watch the race, but there must have been several hundred lining the route along Gallows Hill and up Angel Street.
“The whole procession, with all the outriders and police cars, motorcycles with sirens added to the atmosphere so people didn’t start leaving until around midday.
“And there were lots of things going on in Hadleigh, such as street entertainers, bike checks and skate and bike ramps, which attracted a good turnout.
“I think a lot of people must have come from outside of Hadleigh. An event like this draws people in, so the town’s traders benefited from it.”
Sixteen teams from around the globe took part in the penultimate stage of the race – including Tour de France green jersey winner Mark Cavendish – which was won by Lithuanian Gediminas Bagdomas.
The 2011 Tour of Britain title was taken by Dutchman Lars Boom in London on Sunday.