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8 May 2012, 16:20
Norfolk and Suffolk's joint stage of The Tour of Britain, this year's Grand Depart, was officially launched today, with leading cyclists joining event organisers and sponsors.
On Sunday September 9th the Tour of Britain will begin day one of the race in Ipswich - heading through Woodbridge, Leiston, Reydon and Lowestoft before crossing into Norfolk near Great Yarmouth.
From Great Yarmouth the race will head through Filby, Potter Heigham, Hoveton, Coltishall, Reepham, Swanton Morley, Dereham, Mattishall East Tuddenham, Colton, Easton, finally ending with a finish event at the Norfolk Showground - to coincide with the Norfolk Food and Drink Festival.
As was the case last year, Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils have joined forces to ensure that the Tour of Britain returns again.
In Norfolk, in addition to the public sector funding from the County Council - Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Broadland District Council, Breckland Council, and South Norfolk Council, have also provided funding.
In Suffolk, additional support has been provided by Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk Coastal District Council and Waveney District Council.
Last year's route through Norfolk and Suffolk saw around 150,000 people line the roadside - bringing a boost of over £2 million to the local economy.
Barry Stone, Norfolk County Council's Cabinet Member for Cultural Services, said: "The large crowd numbers that we have seen enjoying the Tour of Britain race in Norfolk over the past two years show just how successful an event it continues to be.
As was the case last year, to be able to pool funding with other Norfolk councils and our counterparts in Suffolk, as well as attract sponsorship from the private sector, will enable Norfolk County Council to spend less on hosting the race, yet still deliver a top class event that residents will enjoy watching.
This year's route takes the race to some parts of Norfolk where it has yet to visit, whilst also returning to others, such as Great Yarmouth and Reepham.
I am particularly delighted that we will be able to combine the race with the Norfolk Food and Drink Festival; to put on a fantastic event at the finish of the race at the Norfolk Showground.
Whether watching the race, or enjoying the activities at the Showground or elsewhere along the route, Sunday September 9 will be a day to remember for Norfolk's residents."
Organisers say that the television coverage of the race in more than 100 countries around the globe offers both counties a huge opportunity to showcase locations along the route to huge audiences providing a significant potential tourism benefit.
Councillor Kathy Gosling, Portfolio Holder for Sport, Culture, Diversity, Health and Wellbeing, said: "We are absolutely delighted that the organisers of the Tour of Britain have given Suffolk the great honour of staging this year's Grand Depart.
This year's route will take the world's top cyclists through some of Suffolk?s most beautiful scenery and is a wonderful opportunity for us to highlight the county on an international scale.
We are extremely pleased to be working with colleagues at Norfolk County Council and race sponsors Adnams again to bring the Tour back to the area as we aim to make Suffolk the most active county in England.
The Tour has already proved to be hugely successful with people in Suffolk and we hope this year even more people will come out to support the event and be inspired to get more active."
The Norfolk and Suffolk stage of The Tour of Britain has also been chosen as the first of five 'Tour Rides' in 2012.
Amateur cyclists will have the chance to take on the challenge of Stage One on Sunday 22nd July, with a choice of Pro and Challenge length events, beginning in Ipswich and Great Yarmouth respectively, with both events finishing at the Norfolk Showground.
The event follows on the success of the 2011 Tour Ride East Anglia, when more than 800 cyclists rode sections of the route from Bury St Edmunds to Sandringham.
Details on how to register will be available via www.tourride.co.uk