Tour of Britain race coming to Norfolk

THE country's biggest cycle race will come to the roads of Norfolk for the first time in 2010, thanks to an investment by Norfolk County Council.It is expected that at least �1.

THE country's biggest cycle race will come to the roads of Norfolk for the first time in 2010, thanks to an investment by Norfolk County Council.

It is expected that at least �1.5m of additional revenue will be generated in the county when Norfolk hosts one of the stages to be held as part of the Tour of Britain in September 2010. Not only is it a first for Norfolk but also the first time a stage of the tour in its current guise will be held in the east of England region.

The exact route to be taken through Norfolk is yet to be decided but, with the stage expected to cover at least 100 miles, it is likely to include many parts of the county, both urban and rural, and take in some of Norfolk's most iconic sights and locations.

Securing a stage of the race for Norfolk is a coup for the county council's economic development team, who have been in talks with the organisers of The Tour of Britain for around a year in order to bring the tour to the county's roads.

As well as the economic benefits the race will bring to Norfolk through increased tourism and business revenues, it is hoped that the tour will boost local interest in cycling and sport in general, particularly among children and young people in the approach to the London Olympics in 2012. The race also provides an opportunity to promote Norfolk nationally and internationally as a destination and demonstrate that it has everything needed to host events on a grand scale.

Norfolk County Council leader Daniel Cox announced the news today at the regional economic forum held in Norwich. He said: “I'm very proud that we've convinced the people behind the Tour of Britain to bring the race to Norfolk next year. This is likely to be the biggest sporting event ever to be held in the county and the potential benefit is huge. Our tourism businesses and those in related trades in particular stand to gain enormously from the national and international attention the tour will bring.

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“When dreaming up a challenging cycle route for top athletes, Norfolk's landscape wouldn't perhaps immediately spring to mind to those who don't know our county. We are one of the largest counties in England however with many features that will help create an exciting and demanding route. We have a fantastic range of locations and scenery comprising fens, broads, forests and miles and miles of beautiful coastline, cities and market towns that combine modern improvements and historic architecture, and excellent facilities for visitors due to our reputation as a world-class tourist destination.

“By the time the Tour comes here in 2010, the outer harbour in Great Yarmouth will have been operational for over a year and work will be due to start on the dualling of the final stretch of the A11. Staging this international sporting event is another ringing endorsement for Norfolk and I'm confident these transport improvements will only further boost our ability to attract and stage events of this calibre. This announcement demonstrates we are determined to invest in achieving our strategic ambitions to boost the local economy and inspire people to achieve.”

The tour is the UK's biggest free-to-view live sporting event and in 2010 will be held over eight days in September, visiting regions across the whole of the UK. One hundred riders from countries around the world compete in the race and coverage is shown live on ITV with highlights on several channels and broadcast in more than 100 countries. When the Tour visited Somerset in 2008, around 107,500 spectators came out onto the streets of the region and generated �1.86 million of additional revenue.

Michael Timewell, Chairman of Norfolk Tourism, said: “This is wonderful news for Norfolk. There is of course the direct benefit of a massive increase in visitor numbers in September next year. In addition, the publicity created by this announcement and the ensuing boost in Norfolk's profile regionally, nationally and internationally will begin to take effect long before September 2010, and continue long after the race too. Tourism is the county's largest industry, worth �2.2 billion to the local economy. This announcement is a fantastic endorsement of our wonderful county and provides a very exciting opportunity for our tourism businesses.”

For more information about the Tour of Britain, visit