Ipswich mayor in a spin as countdown to Suffolk stage of Women’s Tour pedals forward

Ipswich mayor Sarah Barber and a group of This Girl Can ambassadors taking part in a preview cycle r

Ipswich mayor Sarah Barber and a group of This Girl Can ambassadors taking part in a preview cycle ride to mark 50 days until the Women's Tour. Left to right, Emma Brinkley, Sarah Barber and Emily Roden. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The countdown to an international cycling spectacular sweeping through the heart of Suffolk in June has stepped up a gear – as a high-profile dignitary swapped her civic chain for a bicycle one.

Over 100 of the world's top cyclists will pass through Wickham Market, Woodbridge, Stowmarket, and m

Over 100 of the world's top cyclists will pass through Wickham Market, Woodbridge, Stowmarket, and many other key locations in Suffolk. Picture: THEO SOUTHEE PHOTOGRAPHY/OVO ENERGY WOMEN'S TOUR 2017 - Credit: Archant

With less than 50 days to go until the OVO Energy Women’s Tour – tipped to draw more than 100 of the world’s top cyclists to Framlingham and beyond – mayor of Ipswich Sarah Barber took on a sporting challenge of her own.

Joined by Suffolk’s squad of This Girl Can ambassadors, the Ipswich Hospital nurse set off from her workplace yesterday to tackle the race’s SKODA Queen of the Mountain route across the town – finishing by climbing the Christchurch Park hill.

Tour riders racing through Suffolk on June 13 will start off in Framlingham, taking in panoramic views of the countryside before sweeping round Ipswich’s scenic Waterfront and crossing the finish line in Southwold.

“I can confidently say the professional riders will be a lot, lot faster than me but this was an enjoyable experience – even the hill in the park, which I normally stroll up gently,” said Mrs Barber.

Ipswich mayor Sarah Barber and a group of This Girl Can ambassadors taking part in a preview cycle r

Ipswich mayor Sarah Barber and a group of This Girl Can ambassadors taking part in a preview cycle ride to mark 50 days until the Women's Tour. Left to right, Emma Brinkley, Sarah Barber and Emily Roden. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“The OVO Energy Women’s Tour is a very prestigious event and it is a great honour for Ipswich and Suffolk to be the focus of the opening stage.

“I am sure that thousands of people will be lining the route in June and cheering on all the riders.”

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Joining the mayor yesterday were fellow This Girl Can ambassadors Emma Brinkley and Emily Roden.

The This Girl Can campaign, funded by the National Lottery and developed by Sport England, encourages more women into sport.

Spectators are expected to turn out in their thousands to spur on the cyclists.

A charity ride inspired by the tour two weeks later, on July 1, is set to support Breast Cancer Care.

The sportive is set to bring in an estimated £2million in profits from tourism, according to Suffolk County Council.

Tony Goldson, who is responsible for health at the council, said: “The Women’s Tour provides a unique opportunity for residents and visitors to watch some of the world’s best female cyclists race through Suffolk’s towns and communities and get up close and personal with the action.”

Ipswich mayor Sarah Barber and a group of This Girl Can ambassadors taking part in a preview cycle r

Ipswich mayor Sarah Barber and a group of This Girl Can ambassadors taking part in a preview cycle ride to mark 50 days until the Women's Tour. Left to right, Emma Brinkley, Sarah Barber and Emily Roden. Picture: GREGG BROWN

For more details, including how to enter, visit the Women’s Tour website.

This year, members of the public will be invited to ride part of the route to raise money for Breast

This year, members of the public will be invited to ride part of the route to raise money for Breast Cancer Care. Picture: OVO ENERGY WOMEN'S TOUR 2017 - Credit: Archant

Ipswich mayor Sarah Barber and a group of This Girl Can ambassadors taking part in a preview cycle r

Ipswich mayor Sarah Barber and a group of This Girl Can ambassadors taking part in a preview cycle ride to mark 50 days until the Women's Tour. Left to right, Emma Brinkley, Sarah Barber and Emily Roden. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The 2018 Tour will kick off in Framlingham on June 13. Picture: OVO ENERGY WOMEN'S TOUR 2017

The 2018 Tour will kick off in Framlingham on June 13. Picture: OVO ENERGY WOMEN'S TOUR 2017 - Credit: Archant