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Hayles and Downing to line up in London

Organisers of the Smithfield Nocturne have announced multiple Olympic medallist Rob Hayles and RaphaCondor team leader Dean Downing are the first elite riders confirmed for this year's event. The pair will line up alongside stars of the British Premier Calendar and ProTour guests on June 23 to take on the challenging circuit around the historic Smithfield Market in the heart of the capital.

Hayles is no stranger to circuit racing but the Smithfield course will be an unknown quantity for the British professional. "I've never been to that part of London so I don't know much about the circuit," said Hayles. "I've seen the map and it looks like the rider's technical abilities and equipment are going to be tested to the max!"

"The course certainly looks a bit tight," agreed Downing. "But that's what crit racing is about, what Rob and I would call 'real' crit racing anyway! There are a couple of long straights, that will give the opportunity to put some power down. I think Rob will be the danger man though; he seems to go round corners like he is on rails."

This year's event includes the elite criterium, junior and messenger races, as well as a folding bike race with Le Mans style start.

"It’s fantastic that an event like this will be held in the centre of London," said Hayles. "With two weeks before the Tour it will provide an interesting taster for many Londoners who know nothing about cycling."

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