PACKED crowds roared on cyclists as they powered towards the finish line in top class racing in Northwich on Friday.
Men’s and women’s races featured in the action from Britain’s leading team cycle race series, which followed a host of community events.
People lined the streets to see the Tour Series cyclists in action, and the event was hailed a great success by the organisers.
The chairman of Northwich Business Improvement District executive board, Gaynor Sinar, was in town for the whole event.
She said: “It was brilliant for Northwich to host a national event and those who came into town to watch seemed to really enjoy the spectacle.
“The circuit made for really exciting races and it was great to hear the roar of the crowd on the home straight. With highlights shown on Eurosport and ITV4 it really puts Northwich on the national stage.”
Northwich Mayor Cllr Kevin Rimmer was also full of praise for the event.
He said: “Seeing Olympic and world champions cycling around Northwich was a great experience and there was a real buzz around the circuit.
“The weather did briefly threaten to dampen proceedings, but the racers adapted brilliantly to give us two thrilling races.”
Race director Mick Bennett said: “Northwich lived up to all the excitement and expectation and provided us with a stunning night of racing action.
“The circuit proved to be a challenging and testing one for all the riders and it was great to see so much enthusiasm and local support from a new venue.”
Tour Series PR director Peter Hodges said: “It was great to see that the inclement weather in the afternoon didn’t dampen the crowds spirits and we had a brilliant turnout of people enjoying elite level cycling right on their doorstep.
“It’s always great for us to be able to take the race to new places and give them the opportunity to see world and Olympic champions racing close up.”
The event was organised by Northwich Business Improvement District, Northwich Town Council and Cheshire West and Chester Council, and featured women’s and men’s races as well as fun activities throughout the town for the whole family.
Racing got under way at 5.30pm with the Women’s Matrix Fitness Grand Prix Series. Community elements had kicked off earlier in the day at 2pm, setting the tone for the fun and exciting events to follow.
In the first race the Drops team, who had come to Northwich with the overall lead, were denied team and individual winners’ titles on the day thanks to Emily Nelson and Team Breeze.
With dry and sunny conditions not hinting at the weather to follow, Nelson edged out her rivals in a bunch sprint.
The excitement continued during the Men’s race, although the conditions worsened considerably as the rain swept in.
Crashes affected numerous teams, including leaders JLT Condor, which allowed Milton Keynes-based Madison Genesis to take the overall lead in the Tour Series as all five of their riders finished in the top nine.
Neither JLT Condor or Madison Genesis had the winning individual rider though, as Enrique Sanz of Team Raleigh powered over the line to take glory and record the Brother Fastest Lap in the process.
It was just reward for Sanz who had taken third and second in the first two rounds before Northwich.
Away from the cycling there were plenty of attractions for the whole family. Highlights included a T-Rex and triceratops on the High Street and a range of activities in Victoria car park.
There were funfair rides, a ferris wheel, live music, arts and crafts and markets run by artists and some of the town’s BID Businesses.
Donkey Rides once again proved a big hit with kids on Leicester Street as Ant & Dec returned and Pirates of the Caribbean characters were joined by Minions between the ODEON and M&S.
Organisers of the event have been to towns across the UK for the Tour Series and were very impressed with Northwich, especially the crowds that had come to cheer the riders on.
To see the photographs taken by Guardian photographer Davie Gillespie on Friday see the buy a photo section on the website.