The world’s top women cyclists will gather in Bury St Edmunds for an afternoon of activities the day before the town hosts the opening stage of the Aviva Women’s Tour.
To get crowds warmed up for the evening rider’s presentation on Tuesday, June 16, a number of alternative cycling activities have been planned for Charter Square, in the arc shopping centre, from 2-4pm.
Visitors will be able to find out how their cycling performance measures up on a Watt Bike, make a delicious healthy drink with an amazing pedal-powered smoothie bike, race Scalextric cars around a track using only pedal power and take part in a virtual race on roller cycles.
Then, at 5.20pm, million-selling album soprano Laura Wright - the England rugby team’s first ever official anthem singer - will take to a stage to open the team presentation event, followed at 5.30pm by the riders themselves.
This will give fans their first opportunity to get up close to the athletes and get photographs or autographs from the likes of Olympic Champions Laura Trott and Dani King.
Sixteen primary schools will have pupil representatives present good luck banners to their ‘adopted’ teams, while celebratory artwork from the town’s middle and upper schools will be on display outside The Apex.
Race day - Wednesday, June 17 - will see local cyclists join soprano Laura Wright in leading off the tour for charity SportsAid.
Leaving at 8am, they will ride the route from Bury to Aldeburgh, at an agreed speed ahead of the teams.
At 10.45am a group of cyclists will take part in a pre-race ride out from Angel Hill to St Mary’s Square.
This group will include 10 Abbeycroft Leisure Women on Wheels (WoW) participants who won ‘golden tickets’ after entering the WoW cycle ride taking place on July 5 in aid of St Nicholas Hospice Care and 10 lucky Bury Free Press competition winners.
Thousands of spectators are expected to turn out for the ‘grand depart’ on Angel Hill at 11am, where 16 of the world’s top cycling teams, each fielding a six-rider line-up, will set off.
The 110.2km first stage route will take the athletes through Thurston, Rougham, Bradfield St George, Gedding, Felsham, Rattlesden, Stowmarket, Stowupland, Stonham, Crowfield and Hemingstone, as they make their way across the county to Aldeburgh, on the Suffolk Coast, where they are expected to finish at around 2.10pm.
While the race is underway, a rolling road block will be in place.
Local road users are being advised to expect short delays during their journeys.
In Bury, Angel Hill - from the junction with Northgate Street to Crown Street - will be closed from 10pm on June 16 until 4pm on June 17.
Parking will also be suspended on Angel Hill, Chequer Square, Crown Street, Honey Hill and Sparhawk Street from 6pm on June 16 until 4pm on June 17.
Spectators are encouraged to bring their bikes along on the day when Bury Police Safer Neighbourhood Team will be carrying out free ‘cycle security marking’ at the Angel Hill SNT office from 10am until 2pm.
The final stage of the five-day race will end in Hemel Hempstead on Sunday, June 21.
Bury’s business improvement district Ourburystedmunds has put £1000 towards staging the Women’s Tour.
For more details on the race, including the chosen route, visit www.womenstour.co.uk