STARS SET TO SHINE IN BURY STAGES
Cycling royalty Sir Bradley Wiggins and Marianne Vos are among those set to hurtle through Bury after the UK’s two biggest races have been confirmed for the town.
West Suffolk sports fans are set to get a chance to see the world’s best cyclists up close with the UK’s men’s and women’s premier tour race routes taking in Bury St Edmunds’ historic medieval grid.
With the second Friends Life Women’s Tour having already been revealed to be starting in Bury in June, the world-renowned men’s Tour of Britain has now confirmed it will be heading through the area in September, with Suffolk and Norfolk having last hosted a stage in 2012.
Team GB stars such as Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Alex Dowsett all competed in the 2014 Tour of Britain event, which was won by Dylan van Baarle of the Netherlands.
Wiggins finished third last year, and if he enters, the Olympic star will be hoping for a repeat of 2013, when the Team Sky rider lifted the trophy with a gap of 26 seconds from the rest of the field.
The eight-stage event is scheduled to run through Thetford, Bury, Stowmarket and Needham Market during stage seven — from Fakenham to Ipswich at 225km the longest — on September 12, with the line-up of riders to be announced during the summer.
It comes after the announcement that 12 of the top 15 professional teams will be competing in this year’s Friends Life Women’s Tour, which drew thousands out on to the streets of Bury last May for the finish on Angel Hill.
The 2014 Yellow Jersey overall winner, Netherlands’ Vos — the world’s most decorated female cyclist of all time — is set to defend her title as a rider for Rabo Liv, with the five-day event including daily highlights on ITV4 starting in Bury on June 17.
Race Director of organisers SweetSpot, Mick Bennett, said: “We have once again secured a world-class line-up of teams for the Friends Life Women’s Tour, which surpasses even that of our inaugural event in 2014.
“Over the coming weeks and months we look forward to confirming many of the world-class riders that we know will be racing at the Friends Life Women’s Tour, giving cycling fans in the UK something to look forward to this June.”
Top professional teams including Wiggle Honda, Velocio SRAM and Orica AIS will be joined by seven debutants, who will boast all but seven of the world’s best 50 ranked UCI riders.
The national teams of Germany and the United States will also join the professional teams in this year’s line-up, with British riders expected to be prominently featured in teams such as Matrix Fitness and Pearl Izumi Sports Tour and International.