VIDEO: Thousands enjoy Tour of Britain in Fakenham

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Thousands of people have turned out in Fakenham this morning to watch the start of the penultimate stage of this year’s Tour of Britain.

A total of 110 riders departed from the town’s racecourse at 10am today to embark on a 227 kilometre route through Norfolk and Suffolk to the finish line in Ipswich.

Officials estimate that around 3,000 people headed to the course to see riders including Sir Bradley Wiggins, though they say some may have been put off by showery weather conditions.

David Hunter, the racecourse’s chief executive, said: “It’s been a really good atmosphere. It’s gone very well and I’m grateful to my team, the district council and the county council. I’m very pleased.”

Tom FitzPatrick, leader of North Norfolk District Council, added: “It’s really good for the district as a whole, but Fakenham in particular.

“It’s bringing people into the area, spending money. Lots of them will stay and enjoy the beautiful countryside and our wonderful coast as well.

“It’s also meeting our health and fitness agenda. We want to see as many people as possible out on their bikes.”

The race was started by former Norfolk County Council chairman Hilary Cox, who is the authority’s cycling and walking champion.

Ahead of the professionals’ departure, dozens of school children took part in their own ride setting off from the same starting point as their heroes.

Many community groups and cycling organisations also had stands at the track during the morning.