Norwich misses out on Tour of Britain cycle boost

Norfolk is set for another multi-million pound boost after it was confirmed the Tour of Britain cycle race will return to the county in September - although it has emerged that Norwich will miss out on the action.

The exciting event brought more than �5m to Norfolk and �2.5m to Suffolk when they each hosted a stage - Suffolk in conjunction with Essex - last year and drew an estimated 130,000 people to the roadside in Norfolk.

But while thousands of people turned out to see the cycling spectacle speed through the centre of Norwich during last year's tour, it has been revealed that this year's event will be bypassing the city.

The Norfolk and Suffolk stage of the event - due to be held on September 18 - will set off from Bury St Edmunds before travelling through Norfolk - arriving in Diss and heading on through Wymondham and Reepham on the way to an iconic finish on the Sandringham Estate.

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council, said: 'We and the organisers want to spread the benefit of the Tour across the whole of Norfolk and are taking on a different route this year, to showcase even more of our beautiful county.

'The focus this year is around local communities and the route, via Reepham and Wymondham, means we can highlight many of Norfolk's parishes and they can share in the economic benefits. Having the tour on a Saturday means people from across the county, including Norwich, will be able to travel to stages across the route and we are hopeful that even more people will come out on the streets this year to enjoy this spectacle.'

Steve Morphew, leader of Norwich City Council, said: 'I think it's a shame - I think it's their loss. I'm sure other people will go out and have a look, but what's absolutely clear is Norwich still puts on a better show than anywhere else in the county and almost anywhere else in the country.'

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The Norfolk and Suffolk stage of this year's event will be the penultimate one, with the final stage in London on September 18.

A host of organisations have provided support and funding to enable make the return happen - including Southwold brewer Adnams, which will be the lead sponsor of the Norfolk and Suffolk stage.

In Norfolk, the county council, South Norfolk Council, Broadland District Council and the King's Lynn and West Norfolk Council have dug deep. Mott Macdonald and May Gurney will also be providing support. The Evening News's sister paper, the Eastern Daily Press, is a media partner.

Derrick Murphy, leader of Norfolk County Council, said: 'Confirmation of the route and the date will begin to build the excitement for the return of the biggest sporting event that this county has ever seen.

'The benefits of hosting a stage of the Tour of Britain are huge - with our tourism industry and those in related trades particularly set to gain enormously from the regional, national and international attention that the Tour brings.'

What do you think of the decision not to run the race through Norwich? Write to Evening News letters at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE, or email