Thrill of the tour draws crowds as Suffolk hosts ‘spectacular’ Tour of Britain stage six
PUBLISHED: 18:23 08 September 2017 | UPDATED: 18:23 08 September 2017
All eyes were on Suffolk and thousands of people lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the world’s top cyclists as the Tour of Britain swept through the county today.
Excited crowds gathered at the start line in Newmarket on Friday morning with onlookers turning up early to watch big name riders such as Mark Cavendish saddle up ready for stage six of the race.
For the first time ever this year the Suffolk stage was based entirely within county borders and cycling fans from across the globe looked on as the riders raced east to the finish in Aldeburgh.
Australian Caleb Ewan sprinted to secure his third stage win of the tour by three bike lengths.
• How the race unfolded
Stage four winner Fernando Gaviria and Dylan Groenewegen were hot on his heels and finished in second and third place.
Tony Goldson, cabinet member for health at Suffolk County Council, said the tour has given a variety of organisations the opportunity to showcase everything that Suffolk has to offer to international audiences.
“The tour brings in £2.2million in general income and is watched by more than 110,000 to 115,000 people,” he said.
“Around 14% of those people are from out of the area and about 12% spend at least a night here.
“It really does give a wonderful view of what Suffolk is all about.
“It also shows how Suffolk can benefit from something as spectacular as this – it gives us the chance to showcase Suffolk and puts the county in a good light.
“People who see this must be absolutely invigorated by what these young people are able to achieve on these bikes.
“It’s brought communities together and has been a huge success.”
Kicking off in Newmarket riders made their way through Bury St Edmunds and west Suffolk villages before the race snaked through Dennington, past Framlingham Castle and Wickham Market before paying a visit to county town Ipswich and nearby Kesgrave.
It then travelled through Rendlesham, past Snape Maltings to the finish line in Aldeburgh’s High Street.
• Stage five also took part in East Anglia, with a time trial in Clacton
Councillor Andy Drummond, mayor of Newmarket, waved the flag to start the race alongside councillor Ruth Bowman, chairman of Forest Heath District Council.
Mr Drummond said: “It was absolutely fantastic, the High Street was the perfect location for the race to start and there was a large amount of people in town.”
A group of children from All Saints’ Primary School in Newmarket were among many who lined the barriers to see a glimpse of the riders.
Outside The Bell Pub in Main Road, Kesgrave, pupils from Kesgrave High School lined the route before an intermediate sprint point.
Chloe Goodchild, 11, said: “It was really fun because you can wave and shout – it wasn’t just on TV how it usually is.”
The heavens opened as seven breakaway riders approached Framlingham, followed two minutes later by a tightly packed peloton.
Jenny Stockman, interim chairman of the Framlingham Business Association, said: “People have embraced the race as much as they can.”
TJ Haworth-Culf, of Suffolk Coastal District Council, added: “It’s been amazing to witness such a sporting spectacle here in Aldeburgh.
“Despite the weather, the thrill of the race has brought the crowds out all along the route and here for the fantastic finish in Aldeburgh.
“This has been an exciting day for everyone.”