Thousands of people thronged the streets of Croydon to watch elite cyclists compete in the second-to-last round of the national race yesterday evening (June 7).
Croydon for the second year hosted the only professional cycling races in London, the women’s Matrix Fitness Grand Prix and the men’s Pearl Izumi Tour Series. Last year 12,000 people came to see the event.
The cyclists and spectators were threatened by weather warnings as thunder and rain had hit the track in the afternoon. Susanne Bensley, 51, was one of the locals that came to watch the race despite the warnings. She had brought her grandchildren to see the competitors swish past on Katharine Street.
She said: “The children had been looking forward to it all week so there was no way we weren’t going. It’s such a big event with the TV crews and the music. It’s very exciting to see so many people here.”
Luckily, the evening saw no bad weather and the track had dried by the time the race started.
The cyclists raced on the high street, under the Croydon flyover and past the Town Hall.
Joe Mould, the round’s individual winner, said: “It was actually pretty tough. I think it was good to watch because you saw us from the start/finish [section] coming through the bottom corner; it was a good one.”
During the day, local children were encouraged to come and learn more about the sport in skills sessions. Primary school races were also held in the afternoon.
A charity race was held to support Croydon mayor Wayne Trakas-Lawlor’s three charities: Croydon Commitment, British Home and Stanley Halls People’s Initiative. The Metropolitan Police came out as winners, followed by the TfL team.
The individual winner of the Women’s Matrix Fitness Grand Prix was Grace Garner for Podium Ambition, who could celebrate her first win so far. Drops Cycling were the team winners.
Madison Genesis won best men’s team.
The men’s races are split into 10 rounds across the country, and the women’s races are held alongside in six out of the 10 stops. The cyclists will compete for the final time in Portsmouth on Thursday, June 9.
Catch the highlights of the Croydon race at 8pm tonight on ITV4.