September 17 2014 Latest news:
Friday, May 9, 2014
Race organisers say they have been “extremely heartened” by the crowds of cheering spectators who turned out in support of today’s Women’s Tour in Suffolk and Essex.
Hugh Roberts, chief executive with Sweet Spot, which has organised the event, said the enthusiastic response was “vital” to the event’s success.
Speaking before the start of today’s stage in Felixstowe, he said: “I think it’s been extremely heartening to see the local population of Suffolk and Essex come out in their droves.
“It’s great for the riders when they are going through a bit of a rough patch in the race or when the weather is not so good to suddenly go past bunches of schoolchildren all screaming, waving their flags and cheering them on.
“It must be very uplifting and I think it’s vital for the race.
“The councils and stakeholders have also worked very closely with us in support the event, which is very welcome.
Today’s section of the race - known as the Dutch stage due to the flatness of its route - is also the only stage to start and finish on the coast, with Felixstowe and Clacton each benefiting from the added prestige.
Mr Roberts said the Tour of Britain had a rich history of staging events in coastal resorts, which were always well loved by the riders and spectators alike.
“We always enjoy going to seaside towns and Felixstowe is no exception,” he said.
“It’s nice to be able to breathe a little life back into some of these iconic Victorian resorts, because they’ve not had the best of times over the years.
“The race brings media and spectators and footage will be broadcast all over the world, which is a pretty good advertisement for places like this.”
With cycling growing increasingly popular, Mr Roberts said the development of the women’s race was a “natural evolution” of the sport and hoped the tour would grow to become a “corner stone of the sporting calendar and equally well supported as (The Tour of Britain) its older brother”.