Tour of Britain returns to Suffolk and Norfolk

Image caption Riders including Mark Cavendish were given a warm welcome when the tour visited Ipswich in 2012

The Tour of Britain is to return to East Anglia, with the penultimate stage of this year's race starting in Norfolk and ending in Suffolk.

Twenty of the world's top men's cycling teams will compete in the eight-day tour, which starts on 6 September.

On 12 September, the riders will take on a 225km (139 mile) course, starting in Fakenham and ending in Ipswich.

Last year's Tour of Britain was won by Garmin-Sharp's Dutch rider Dylan van Baarle.

The seventh stage will start at Fakenham Racecourse and head south via Aylsham, Norwich city centre, Wymondham and Attleborough before crossing into Suffolk.

Dylan Van Baarle of Garmin-Sharp (centre) poses with second-placed Micha Kwiatkowskii of Omega Pharma-Quickstep (left) and third- placed Sir Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky (right) Image copyright PA
Image caption Sir Bradley Wiggins (right) finished third in last year's Tour of Britain, having won it in 2013

The race will enter Thetford Forest on its way to Bury St Edmunds and will also pass through Stowmarket, Needham Market, Hadleigh and East Bergholt.

Details of this year's teams are yet to be announced.

Race director Mick Bennett said Suffolk and Norfolk, which last hosted the tour in 2012, had become known for the "tremendous support" shown by spectators lining the streets.

"In the past we have seen some of the race's biggest ever crowds in the two counties, so are sure this September will prove to be no different," he said.

The 2010 Tour of Britain passes Blickling Hall Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Previous visits to Norfolk have proven popular with spectators

Paul Smyth, Ukip chairman of the communities committee at Norfolk County Council, said previous tours had brought "significant economic investment" into the county.

"It may also lead to increased cycling among residents, with consequent health benefits," he said.

Conservative county councillor Alan Murray said the return of the tour to Suffolk would "create great excitement and draw huge crowds".

Tour of Britain 2015 stages

  1. Beaumaris, Anglesey to Wrexham (6 September)
  2. Clitheroe to Colne (7 September)
  3. Cockermouth to Floors Castle, Kelso (8 September)
  4. Edinburgh to Blyth (9 September)
  5. Prudhoe to Harside Fell (10 September)
  6. Stoke-on-Trent to Nottingham (11 September)
  7. Fakenham to Ipswich (12 September)
  8. London (13 September)

Image copyright Ordnance Survey

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