Some of the world’s leading cyclists will head to Fakenham this autumn as the town welcomes the Tour of Britain, it has been announced this evening.
The penultimate stage of this year’s race, on Saturday September 12, will start from the town’s racecourse before heading through Fakenham, Reepham, Aylsham and into Norwich.
After leaving the city, the peloton will ride through Wymondham, Attleborough and Thetford before leaving Norfolk to continue towards the finish in Ipswich.
The Tour previously visited Norfolk in 2011, when the stage finished at Sandringham, and 2012, which officials say generated tens of thousands of people and around £3 million in benefits for the local economy.
Glyn Williams, North Norfolk District Council’s portfolio holder for leisure and cultural services, said: “We are thrilled that the race will start at Fakenham.
“At a grassroots level cycling is an increasingly popular leisure activity in North Norfolk and I hope the spectacle of the riders going through the district will encourage more people to get involved from those who enjoy a gentle ride through the countryside to aspiring Olympic athletes.”
Paul Smyth, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s communities committee said: “In previous years the Tour of Britain has brought significant economic investment into Norfolk and proved to be a hugely popular event, so the race returning to the county is welcome news.
“We are the only east of England stage and as well as giving a boost to Norfolk’s profile and businesses, it may also lead to increased cycling among residents, with consequent health benefits.”
County and district council officials have joined forces with Active Norfolk and Adnams to fund the stage.
And a series of cycling-related events are planned in the weeks leading up to the stage.
Active Norfolk director Ben Jones said: “We are excited to build on the huge enthusiasm for cycling within the county through the return of the Tour of Britain.
“This spectacular event provides a fantastic platform to showcase why Norfolk is such a great place to visit, and working with our partners we aim to provide a host of opportunities to encourage more people of all ages to make riding a bike part of their lives.”