Packed evening entertains in Smithfield Nocturne
Olympic, world and national cycling champions attract 10,000 in London
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 in the UK.
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.
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.
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 one hour and five 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.
"We've had the Smithfield Nocturne as a key UK event for three years now, 2009 was bigger and better than ever before," said event director James Pope. "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."
"It was great to see everybody enjoying something fresh, exciting and free in the capital. Our races proved to be a spectacle once again."
Support races also gave the opportunity for amateur cyclists in the city to race on the testing circuit around the historic Smithfield Market. Businesses entered teams of three into the team challenge for a relay to prove which is the fastest business in the city.
The Nocturne Series will travel to Blackpool for the final event on Saturday, August 1.
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