Tour of Britain set to return

BRITAIN’S biggest professional bike race will return to Suffolk and north Essex this year.

The Tour of Britain – the elite cycle race which sees riders competing over several stages across the country – will arrive in the area for the penultimate stage of the event.

Last year’s race took cyclists through Sudbury, Clare and the villages of Foxearth, Long Melford and Lavenham.

It is thought a similar route will be in place when the participants set off from Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds on September 17 for the 60-mile stage.

Central England property manager Luke Potter of thge National Trust, which owns Melford Hall and Lavenham Guildhall of Corpus Christi, said: “Last year’s Suffolk stage fell on a Friday but this year it falls on a Saturday, which will help draw larger crowds along the route.

“As I understand it, there was a fairly late change last year to send the route via Foxearth, Melford and Lavenham and I hope that we can encourage the organisers to route it via Long Melford again this year.”

During last year’s event, around 120,000 spectators turned out to watch the riders race by, generating an estimated £2.5million for the region.

Jane Storey, Suffolk County Council deputy leader, has worked with the authority and Norfolk County Council to help bring the race back to the area. She said: “We’re thrilled to be bringing the Tour of Britain back to Suffolk.

“More than 100 of the world’s top athletes will be in Suffolk to inspire us, and the county council is working hard with its partners to bring the excitement of the event to local people, especially to young people, and to get Suffolk active.”