Tour of Britain 2012 starts with Suffolk to Norfolk leg

Mark Cavendish (front) at Tour of Britain 2011 in Sandringham, Norfolk
Image caption In 2011 stage seven of the Tour of Britain went from Bury St Edmunds to Sandringham

The opening stage of the Tour of Britain 2012 will see cyclists from around the world race from Ipswich to the outskirts of Norwich.

The stage, known as the Grand Depart, will set off from the Ipswich Waterfront, Suffolk, on 9 September.

Riders will travel through Woodbridge, Aldeburgh, Leiston and Lowestoft before crossing the Norfolk boundary in Lound.

They will then pass through Great Yarmouth, Coltishall and Dereham before arriving at the Norfolk Showground.

It will be the third consecutive year the tour has visited the two counties.

A spokesperson for the tour said: "The crowds have always been very supportive in Suffolk and Norfolk so it's great to be bringing stage one there."

'Bigger boost'

Councillor Kathy Gosling, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for sport, said last year's race had an "enormously positive impact" on the local economy.

"I expect that we will see an even bigger boost this year," she said.

The riders' arrival at the Norfolk Showground in Costessey will coincide with the Norfolk Food and Drink Festival.

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 shows 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."

The remainder of the eight-day long Tour of Britain route has yet to be announced.

The first stage of the Tour of Britain will travel through:

  • Ipswich
  • Kesgrave
  • Woodbridge
  • Tunstall
  • Snape
  • Aldeburgh
  • Thorpeness
  • Leiston
  • Reydon
  • Wrentham
  • Kessingland
  • Lowestoft
  • Oulton
  • Blundeston
  • Lound
  • Filby
  • Potter Heigham
  • Hoveton
  • Coltishall
  • Reepham
  • Swanton Morley
  • Dereham
  • Mattishall
  • East Tuddenham
  • Colton
  • Easton
  • Norfolk Showground

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