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Olympic gold medallist conquers iconic course

Team Halfords Bikehut’s Ed Clancy took an impressive victory over rivals Dean Downing and Malcolm Elliott in the Elite Criterium at the Blackpool Nocturne. More than 4,000 spectators saw some of the UK’s premier riders take on the course, with the star riders introduced by Eurosport’s David Harmon before getting underway for the one hour of racing.

Early attacks proved irrelevant, but the burst from Rapha Condor’s Kristian House left him out in front, with a significant gap for most of the race.

But the current National Road Race Champion was caught by a strong chase from the other UK teams, and it was Olympic Gold Medallist Ed Clancy who took the glory in the final gallop, with Dean Downing (Rapha Condor) in second and Malcolm Elliott (CandiTV Marshalls Pasta) in third.

Other races for the crowds to enjoy came in the form of the Hoteliers Challenge, Cycling Weekly Support Race and the Folding Bike Race.

The Hoteliers Challenge gave a unique platform for local hotel owners and staff to take the title of being the fastest business in Blackpool. Riders took on the challenging 950m circuit in a one-lap time race against the clock, and Matt Cossins from Sandford Hotel took the win in a race unique to the Blackpool event.

The Cycling Weekly Support Race saw the North West’s strong cycling contingent play out a fast-paced battle across the Blackpool streets with Eagle RC rider Phil Hersey’s convincing effort enough to put the rest of the group at bay.

The folding bike race was a spectacle, as riders in business attire got underway with the Le-Mans style start, before completing the five lap race on their folders. The unusual challenge was won by Graham Raeburn.

This year the Nocturne Series 2009 has also had events in London and Edinburgh and event director of FACE James Pope said: “The Nocturne Series has expanded for 2009 and all three dates had huge positive impacts on their local community. Blackpool has a unique atmosphere and it’s great to bring cycle racing here that involves everybody and fits in perfectly with the Cycle Blackpool campaign.

“With more than 20,000 combined spectators being able to witness the free sport showcase at the Nocturne, we hope to expand the series even further and maintain position as the premier night-time racing series.”

Events company FACE will now focus on the upcoming Revolution series, starting on Saturday, November 14, with tickets now available.

Elite Criterium results:

1) Ed Clancy (Halfords Bikehut)
2) Dean Downing (Rapha Condor)
3) Malcolm Elliott (CandiTV Marshalls Pasta)
4) Darren Lapthorne (Rapha Condor)
5) Simon Holt (CandiTV Marshalls Pasta)
6) Ian Wilkinson (Halfords Bikehut)
7) Matt Cronshaw (Rapha Condor)
8) Russell Downing (CandiTV Marshalls Pasta)
9) Jon Mozley (Madison.co.uk)
10) Rob Partridge (Halfords Bikehut)

Full results for all races visit www.nocturneseries.com shortly.