Tour of Britain cyclists coming to Lowestoft, Southwold, Reydon, Wrentham, Kessingland, Henstead and Blythburgh
A SUMMER of sport is set to hit another high note in Waveney next month as the UK's biggest professional cycling event comes to the region and helps cement the Olympic sporting legacy.
The first stage of the Tour of Britain is expected to attract tens of thousands of spectators when it passes through towns and villages across east Suffolk on Sunday, September 9.
Cycling fans and people who have been inspired by successful Olympians on the road and velodrome, such as Bradley Wiggins and Sir Chris Hoy, will be able to view the tour as it passes Lowestoft, Carlton Colville, Kessingland, Henstead, Wrentham, Reydon, Southwold and Blythburgh.
It will be the country's biggest post-Olympics and Paralympics sporting event, and while team line-ups are yet to be announced, some of the biggest names is cycling could be taking part. Last year, when the race also passed through Suffolk, Mark Cavendish was among the star riders.
It is also hoped the event will add to the soaring interest in cycling following the Tour de France success of Bradley Wiggins and a stunning gold medal haul for Team GB at the Olympics.
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The first stage starts in Ipswich, heads up the Suffolk coast, passing through Woodbridge, Aldeburgh, Southwold and Lowestoft before crossing the border into Norfolk.
The region's tourism champions hope the event will help profile local businesses while showing off our scenic coast and countryside.
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Councillor Colin Noble, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for sport, believes the return of the Tour will add to the buzz around British cycling and help the region's economy.
He said: ''As well as seeing an increase in people taking to their bikes themselves as a result of the Tour of Britain visiting the county, we anticipate to see an economic boost for the area as many spectators visit and stay in the county.'
Naomi Tarry, of Best of Suffolk, a holiday cottage lettings agency, called the tour's arrival 'brilliant news'.
'We are hoping to keep the excitement generated from the Olympics running and recreate the excellent atmosphere that we had when the Olympic torch passed through Aldeburgh in July,' she said.
'It will hopefully be a great tourism boost to the area once the summer holidays have ended, as we expect people will travel here from all over the country.'
The Tour could not come at a better time for Suffolk, she said, with 'cycle fever' sweeping the nation.
Mrs Tarry added: 'The popularity of cycling has probably never been as high as it is now.'
Cycling's popularity is in no small part down to the recent successes of Tour de France winner Wiggins and Team Sky team-mate Cavendish, considered the world's best sprinter.
Team Sky is participating in the Tour of Britain, although it is not yet known whether the two individuals will take part.
Meanwhile, fellow British teams Endura Racing, Team IG–Sigma Sport, Rapha Condor, Team Raleigh–GAC, Node4–Giordana Racing, and Team UK Youth have confirmed they will be taking part.
Last year more that 150,000 people lined the streets to watch the East Anglia stage.
Southwold brewer Adnams will again be the main sponsor of the Tour of Britain stage as it makes it way through the region.
To celebrate, the company has produced its own 'King of the Suffolk Mountains' cycle jerseys, complete with a bottle of Adnams Southwold Bitter poking up from rear pocket.
The nationwide race is expected to bring a �2m boost to the local economy as well as being televised in more than 100 countries. Tour of Britain spokesman Peter Hodges said: 'It's a golden opportunity for cycling in Britain.'Having seen the Tour de France and the Olympics on television and it will give people in East Anglia the chance to see professional cycling first hand.'
For more information on each stage of the tour visit the website www.tourofbritain.com.
The first details of the provisional route for Stage 1 of the Tour of Britain
n The peloton will set out from Ipswich town centre, heading north onto Colchester Road, before heading to the main road at Kesgrave.
n In Kesgrave, it is set to deviate around Ropes Drive, before then passing through Bealings
n It will then head to Woodbridge and Melton, before turning towards Eyke, Tunstall and Snape
n The race then heads into Aldeburgh, takes the road to Thorpeness, before heading to Leiston
n From Leiston, the cyclists head to Middleton, Westleton and then Blythburgh
n The peloton will then skirt around Southwold and Reydon, heading to Wrentham on the B1127
n It follows the B1127 to Henstead before cutting towards Kessingland
n The last part of the Suffolk leg will travel through Carlton Colville and Lowestoft