Ipswich: Delight as cycling star Bradley Wiggins prepares for competitive return in Ipswich

COMMUNITY figures were celebrating today after Tour de France winner and Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins announced he will return to competitive action in Ipswich next month.

The cycling star was initially due to take some time out from the sport following a successful summer, but he has now declared he will take part in the Tour of Britain.

The eight-stage event is due to begin in Ipswich on September 9, and will then go through Woodbridge, Snape, Aldeburgh, Leiston, Southwold and Lowestoft, before heading into Norfolk.

David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said: “It’s fantastic to hear that Bradley Wiggins is coming to Ipswich.

“We have got so many things in Ipswich this summer. The fact that we have got him here is going to make it an even more exciting event and set the seal on what has been a fantastic summer of sport for Britain and for Ipswich.”

It is estimated that when the Tour of Britain travelled through Suffolk last year, it brought business valued at about �850,000. This year it is estimated it could pump more than �1million into the economy.

Wiggins’ Team GB team-mate, Mark Cavendish, is also due to take part in the Tour of Britain.

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Adam Keer, a member of Ipswich Bicycle Club and Team Ipswich cycling, said: “I think it’s fantastic. I can’t wait to see Bradley and the rest of them. It was exciting enough to think we’ve got the likes of Cavendish on the Waterfront, let alone have the duo there.”

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer added: “It’s fantastic news. I watched it last year and it was so exciting. Now we have got biking mania in Britain, I’m sure he’ll get an amazing response.”

Jo Newstead, Ipswich Bicycle Club membership secretary, is hopeful Wiggins’ appearance will also boost participation in cycling.

She said: “It will be a huge boost for Ipswich and cycling in general.

“Winning the Tour de France and his performance at the Olympic Games, he’s going to attract a lot more people to the start of the Tour of Britain.

“Him and Mark Cavendish are such high profile riders and for the club, we are always really pleased when things like this come to the town. It brings cycling to the forefront of people’s minds.”

Wiggins, 32, made the announcement as he launched the inaugural Ride with Brad mass participation cycling event in Lancashire.

He said: “I’m doing the Tour of Britain now. It’ll be nice. I’ll try to stay fit between now and then so I don’t embarrass myself! ”

Wiggins did not compete in the 2011 tour following surgery on a broken collarbone he suffered when crashing out of last year’s Tour de France.

n Are you planning to watch the Tour of Britain through Ipswich? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, IP4 1AN, or send an e-mail to starletters@archant.co.uk