Cycle tour a success for Suffolk

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THE East of England benefited from more than £2 million of extra spending thanks to the Tour of Britain – with Suffolk alone netting £850,000.

The penultimate leg of the tour started in Bury St Edmunds on September 17, taking riders on a 195km ride around the picturesque countryside of Suffolk and Norfolk finishing the stage on the Sandringham estate.

More people than ever turned up to witness the race first hand – it is estimated that 150,000 spectators lined the course, an increase of 25 per cent on 2010.

Of those spectators, 75 per cent said they were inspired to cycle more frequently as a result of watching the event.

Cllr Kathy Gosling, Suffolk County Council’s portfolio holder for sport, said the race had given a great boost to business in the county.

She said: “I am delighted that we had such an amazing turn out from the people of Suffolk to support the Tour of Britain this year.

“Cycling is certainly taking off in Suffolk and it’s brilliant that the tour has inspired even greater interest in the fantastic range of cycle routes and the growing number of clubs in Suffolk.

“It is also important to recognise the economic impact that staging the seventh leg of the race has had in Suffolk.

“The boost that it has to local businesses that lone the route had been fantastic.

More than 600,000 watched ITV 4’s coverage of the event with many more tuning in to see highlight programmes shown worldwide on 14 different TV stations.

Cllr Gosling said plans were already being put in place to host the race next year.

She said: “It was an absolutely wonderful day and it was great to feel part of such an incredible international event.

“I very much look forward to joining forces with Norfolk County Council to try to bring the tour back to our two counties in 2012.”