Aviva Women’s Cycling Tour gave Suffolk’s economy a £1.1 million boost

The Women's Tour cycle race goes through Hadleigh.

The Women's Tour cycle race goes through Hadleigh. - Credit: Archant

An estimated 70,000 spectators also turned out for the event, with almost half (42%) visiting from overseas or other parts of the UK, a Suffolk County Council report said.

World champion cyclists rode through Suffolk – from Bury St Edmunds to Aldeburgh – in the first stage of the elite race on June 17.

The stellar field travelled 112.6 kilometres (68.5 miles), mainly through Suffolk’s countryside and narrow roads, taking in Stowmarket, Ipswich, Woodbridge and Saxmundham before the final sprint to the finish at Aldeburgh along the coast south from Thorpeness.

The race was won by world champion Lizzie Armitstead, who was involved in a crash with photographers moments after crossing the finish line. She later pulled out of the event due to injury.

The county council report also found that 88% of spectators surveyed said they thought the event was “very enjoyable” and 69% said they were inspired to cycle more frequently.

Tony Goldson, cabinet member for health at Suffolk County Council said: “The Women’s Tour was a fantastic event for Suffolk. It not only brought thousands of visitors to the area, but showcased our region to a global audience and brought many different communities together.

“The report confirms what a huge success the weekend was especially for those working in tourism, hospitality and cycling.”

The report also said around 15,000 spectators attended the launch of the stage in Bury St Edmunds and 20,000 attended the finish in Aldeburgh.

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Around 268,000 people watched highlights of the day’s race on television that night.

TJ Haworth-Culf, cabinet member with responsibility for customers, communities and leisure, said: “The tour provided a fantastic platform for us to showcase the wonderful place we live in and gave a great boost to our tourism over the summer.

“I was really pleased to see people of all ages showing their support for this exceptional event.

“I’d like to thank everyone who came out in Aldeburgh as well as those who lined the route through the district. I hope most importantly it has encouraged more of us to get out and on our bikes.”

Joanna Rayner, cabinet member for leisure and culture at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, added: “The lasting feel-good factor from these inspirational occasions is a valuable legacy and I am delighted that Bury St Edmunds continues to host such high quality events.”

The report comes after tens of thousands of people lined the streets for the Tour of Britain in Suffolk earlier this month.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said a report into the impact of that event is expected to “provide an equally positive picture”.