Tour of Britain, the Grand Depart

Yesterday morning I was up early for a Sunday and headed off with my partner Lisa to be at the Grand Depart of this year’s Tour of Britain which is truly a great honour for Suffolk and Ipswich.

The Tour of Britain is the UK’s biggest professional bike race and a centre piece of the British sporting calendar.  Big names including Tour de France winner and Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins and Tour de France stage winner, Mark Cavendish were there and I even managed to get a few shots of Bradley Wiggins just in front of where I was standing.

I will post some pictures to my flicker account that I hope with show just how wonderful a setting the waterfront of Ipswich was for this great honour, in the sun shine it was a magnificent sight, each year it mazes me just how big this thing is with the outriders and support cars and TV crews. An audience of 600,000 watched the 2011 highlights programme on ITV4. Additionally the highlights were broadcast worldwide by 14 separate stations all here filming in Ipswich and showcasing our wonderful countryside as the tour heads towards Norfolk all in brilliant sunshine, it could not have been a better day for it.

Even I had a small walk on part to play as I and Professor Brendan Noble from UCS where invited onto the stage as part of the pre-start show, cue the ‘noble’ jokes from the compare. I spoke about how fantastic that this year we have gone from being Stage 7 to Stage 1 and how this was because 150,000 of us turned out in Suffolk and Norfolk to watched Stage 7 in 2011 which was 30,000 more people watched last year’s Suffolk / Norfolk stage compared to 2010 so we are hoping for 200,000 this year lining the route and cheering the riders on.

Of course there are other reasons the Grand Depart was staged in Suffolk and Norfolk and in part that is because of the efforts all the Councils in the two counties have worked together to accommodate this massive event. Since the idea was first muted at a cabinet meeting a few years ago; Suffolk County Council has been 100% behind it, working hard to make it happen and providing the sort of support that has, well moved us from Stage 7 to Stage 1. I think a number of officers who have worked so hard on the project can take pride in us getting the Grand Depart here in Suffolk in 2012.

The Tour of Britain is a fantastic way to inspire people to get out and get active and provides a significant opportunity to act as inspiration in our aim to make Suffolk the ‘MostActiveCounty’.  It’s estimated that 75% of spectators in 2011 were inspired to cycle more frequently and after watching the Italian F1 GP in the afternoon, what did Lisa and I do, precisely that, we went for a bike ride. Also this year there was a 20% increase in the number of people who signed up to take part in the Tour Ride on Saturday and cycle the stage route before the professionals. 

Ultimately this is what hosting these events is all about, just as with the Olympics, its all about getting all of us inspired to get out and do more exercise, in our busy lives its very easy for us to put exercise to one side but from children to the retired; we all need to be doing more and cycling does not require us to spend a fortune on equipment just to get out there and just do it.

About askcolinnoble
I'm a Conservative politician-lite, I dabble a bit in Party Politics with my main focus of working hard and being a strong voice for my community making sure local government delivers quality services and fellow residents get value for money for their hard earned money they pay in Council tax | Where this Gravatar appears and I am expressing my views or liking something I do so in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Suffolk County Council, Forest Heath District Council, the Conservative Party or come to think of it anyone else | But having said the above at an election time and to stay legal anything I write is promoted by Kerry Buist on behalf of Colin Noble, both at West Suffolk Conservative Association, Unit 8, Swan Lane Business Park, Exning, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7FN

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