An impressive field of riders will contest the elite race in this Saturday?s Smithfield Nocturne in Central London (June 6).
All the big domestic squads are represented, including an on-form National Criterium Champion Dean Downing and his Rapha-Condor team, as well as Ed Clancy and Rob Hayles from Halfords and teams from Madison.co.uk and Candi TV-Marshalls Pasta.
Hot on the heels of last week's emphatic victory in the Edinburgh Nocturne by Garmin?s David Millar, Ben Swift is the latest rider to put his post-Giro fitness to good use on home soil at a Nocturne. The Katusha rider, who is still only 21, had seven top-ten finishes in the Giro, coming third behind Alessandro Petacchi and Mark Cavendish in stage two, and hopes to have a similar effect on this Saturday?s field as Millar and team mate Cameron Meyer did last week.
The Smithfield Nocturne also features two aspects of cycling competition unique to the Capital.
The Smithfield Nocturne Folding Bike Race is now in its third year, and despite many imitators both at home and abroad Smithfield remains the original and best. It?s also the most hotly contested with teams travelling from as far away as Spain to take on the Capital?s commuters, regarded as among the most skilled at unfolding their mounts and riding at speed through London?s traffic.
In a Le Mans-style start, competitors, dressed in business suits, will start 30m away from their folded bikes and at the drop of the chequered flag run to their steeds building them as fast as they can before setting off on a 5 lap dash. In true commuter spirit, winner takes all - there?s no second chance when it comes to catching your train! Expect fierce competition, barging and even a little cheating as commuters race to prove their skills.
The Smithfield Nocturne Fixie Skid Competition pays homage to that other great London cycling institution ? cycle couriers riding fixed wheeled bikes with no gears or brakes. Regarded as the Spitfire pilots of the London cycling scene, couriers are loved and loathed in equal measure but no one denies their bike handling skills as they weave their customised bikes through the Capital?s traffic.
A race like no other with strictly no brakes allowed, the Fixie Skid will feature city couriers attempting to perform the longest back-wheel lock to skid their wheel for as long as possible, giving the crowd non-stop fixie action.
The Smithfield Nocturne is free to attend and will take place around Smithfield Market between 6pm and 10pm on Saturday June 6 ? www.smithfieldnocturne.com
Millar wins Edinburgh Nocturne
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