A crowd of over 10,000 spectators enjoyed a packed evening of fast and furious cycle entertainment at the third Smithfield Nocturne, held on Saturday (June 6).
Folding bike enthusiasts, amateur city cyclists, corporate businesses and elite professional riders joined forces to offer a unique free night out in the capital. The ever-popular Le-Mans style start to the folding bike race kicked off proceedings, with competitors battling it out in two heats to take a chance to race in the final.
The Cycling Weekly support race gave the opportunity for amateur cyclists in the city to race on the testing circuit around the historic Smithfield Market. The Citihub team challenge was also a big hit; businesses entered teams of three who competed in a relay around the course, aiming to prove they are the fastest business in the city.
London?s strong cycling community ensured a top class field of female racers put on an exciting race for the spectators in the Elite Women?s race. A new concept for the Nocturne Series, the fixie-skid competition saw single-gear enthusiasts attempting to pull the longest continuous skid along the finish straight.
But the climax of the event was the Men?s Elite Circuit Race. Olympic, world and national cycling champions lined up on the streets of Smithfield for the flagship race. Competitors from the UK super teams made up the majority of the field and raced for 1 hour and 5 laps at a blistering pace of up to 45mph, giving spectators close access to world class cycle racing. Russell Downing (CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta) had the edge on rival Tony Gibb (Plowman Craven) and rising star Ben Swift (Katusha).
Special guests Olympic Gold medallist Geraint Thomas and iconic fashion designer, Sir Paul Smith presented prizes on the main Rollapaluza stage, popular with autograph hunters.
Event director of FACE, James Pope, said: ?We?ve had the Smithfield Nocturne as a key UK event for three years now, 2009 was bigger and better than ever before. Our spectator base just keeps growing and growing, it?s a real testament to how cycling is growing in London, and the rest of the UK.?
Pope continued: ?It was great to see everybody enjoying something fresh, exciting and free in the capital. Our races proved to be a spectacle once again, the Elite race couldn?t have been more thrilling.?
The Nocturne Series will now travel to Blackpool for the final event on Saturday August 1.
For full details of the Nocturne Series and to enter the races please go to www.smithfieldnocturne.com
A Le Mans-style start kicked off the folding bike race
Elite men in action
Designer Paul Smith enjoyed a good night out
Photos by Adam Tranter
Downing completes Smithfield and Ryedale double