SOME 10,000 fans took to the streets to cheer on two days of action in the Staffordshire Cycling Festival.
Some of the country’s best riders took part in the event with Luke Grivell-Mellor taking the trophy in the Lewis Partnership Men’s Stafford Grand Prix leading a clean sweep for Rapha Condor JLT.
Olympian Ed Clancy MBE took second place with team mate Chris Opie in third.
It was a hotly contested finish to Stage 1 of the Women’s Tour of Staffordshire as Lauren Creamer of Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International powered to victory. Putting in a strong fight and taking second position was team mate Gabriella Shaw. Third place went to Louise Mahe of Team Mulebar Girl – Sigma Sport. Stafford sports therapist Nicky Healy of Mammoth Lifestyle took a career best 4th place to the delight of town fans.
More than 3,000 spectators gathered in Stafford town centre for the final races of the night and were treated to glimpses of a stellar line up for both the male and female fields.
Some 500 cyclists from the region and across the UK took to Staffordshire’s roads in the 35 mile INTO Staffordshire Sportive, and a longer 70 mile ride. It was a fantastic display of pedal power with the number of cyclists participating double that of last year despite a wet start on the morning.
Conditions gradually improved on Saturday afternoon with the sun greeting the later finishers in the sportive and the weather remaining more favourable into the evening for the professional races.
The first race of the evening, the concluding stage of the Women’s Tour of Staffordshire, saw Scottish rider Jane Barr break away alone to take the win, but she was unable to gain enough time on overnight leader Lauren Creamer who held on for the overall victory.
The final race of the night saw the elite men take to the roads for the Shugborough Kermesse, the 4th Round of the British Cycling Grand Prix Series, and with all the top domestic teams turning out to race the pace was rapid from the moment the flag was dropped to signal the start.
After nearly two hours of racing the victory was eventually taken by double world champion Morgan Kneisky of team Raleigh who timed his move to the front to perfection in the gallop to the finish line.
Those wanting to join in the fun without getting into the saddle were treated to a fantastic range of events including an adrenalin packed extreme mountain bike show staged by British Trials Champion, Danny Butler, a Balance Bike course for little riders and an interactive family quiz.
A guest appearance by Olympian Ed Clancy MBE on Friday evening gave devoted cycling fans the opportunity to hear the cycling legend talk first-hand about his cycling career in a close up and personal interview.
Organiser Paul Rowlands said: ”The weekend may have seen some rain but spirits certainly weren’t dampened – we saw staggering numbers of people turn out to participate and enjoy the full line up of festival events.
“The professional races were truly gripping and a real highlight. We’re thrilled to have been able to host such a high calibre of riders here in Staffordshire and are delighted to see the event go from strength-to-strength.”
Staffordshire County Council’s economy leader Mark Winnington said: “Staffordshire is a great county for cycling and events like this definitely help to inspire many of our budding young cyclists, as well as providing a welcome boost to our local tourism economy. It was great to see so many people either taking part or just simply coming out and supporting the event.”