Amateur cyclists get a taste of what is ahead for OVO Energy Women's Tour elite riders from Bury St Edmunds to finish line in Stowmarket
Amateur cyclists, including local councillors, cycling club members, women's cycling champions and members of the media, left West Suffolk Council's HQ in Bury St Edminds at just gone 11am as part of tracking 20 miles of the official course on next month's Suffolk stage of the OVO Energy Women's Tour cycle race.
The sixth edition of the Women's Tour of Britain will set off with the Suffolk stage 1 from Beccles to Stowmarket on June 10 with the route of the whole race, released in detail last week, described as one of the toughest editions yet.
Members of the public, media and local dignitaries, numbering a group of 22 in total, were set to find out why when they took part in today's official preview ride. They had been expected to be joined by Norfolk professional racer Sophie Wright, of top women's team Baglia Pro Cycling, but unfortunately she got called away by her team to fly to Spain yesterday with a replacement pro rider not being able to be found at such short notice.
They were given the rare chance to experience what it will be like to be involved in a professionally-organised top-level race by taking part in a 20-mile section of Stage 1 of the Tour flanked by two police officers on motorbikes.
See their 'grand depart' from West Suffolk House on our video below.
The cyclists were expected to finish at Stowmarket Town Council's HQ at around 12.30pm.
The event in June is free to watch and in the past has seen crowds line the streets of key areas, such as Bury's Angel Hill and the start and finish line – with Framlingham having had the honour of seeing the riders off in last year's race.
* For more details on the Women's Tour and how you can get involved in taking up the sport locally, see Friday's Bury Free Press.