Diss gears up for Tour of Britain cycle race

Diss is set for a tourism and economic boost after it was confirmed that a world-class cycle race will run through the town this year.

South Norfolk missed out on the Tour of Britain last year, which brought more than �5m to Norfolk, when it ran along the coast and through Norwich.

But Diss is set to welcome thousands of visitors when the professional riders race through the town on September 17.

Last year's event drew an estimated 130,000 people to the roadsides of Norfolk and 120,000 in Suffolk. And after months of lobbying, the two counties have been successful in jointly hosting a stage of the UK's biggest professional cycle race – with the route starting at Bury St Edmunds and finishing at the Sandringham Estate.

The Norfolk and Suffolk stage will be the penultimate one, with the final stage in London on September 18.

Jenna Cox, spokesman for the Diss Business Forum, welcomed the news.

'It is brilliant. The business forum is so pleased that this is happening and the more people that come to Diss will see what we have to offer and it is a prime opportunity for the Diss business community to get out there and strut its stuff,' she said.

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Mick Madgett, owner of Madgetts Cycles in Diss, said it was a coup for the town to secure a visit from the tour.

'It is excellent news that it is coming to Diss. People made a big day of it last year and schools had time off to wave flags along the route. I know quite a few people from the area went to see it last year when it was in a Norfolk and hopefully they will cycle past my shop!' he said.

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 and is already the official beer of the Tour of Britain.

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.

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.'

Setting off from Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds on the morning of Saturday, September 17, the race will head through some of Suffolk's finest countryside and villages for around 60 miles, before travelling roughly the same distance through Norfolk - arriving in Diss and heading on through Wymondham and Reepham on the way to a finish on the Sandringham Estate.

Large crowds of residents and visitors are expected to line the route to watch one hundred of the world's leading cyclists compete for the yellow jersey – with former tour riders including Olympic, world and Commonwealth champions.

The television coverage of the race in more than 100 countries around the globe offers both counties an opportunity to showcase locations along the route to huge audiences – providing a significant potential tourism benefit.