Competition was fierce at the second day of a festival of cycling which continues to draw huge crowds to the North East.
Last night, hundreds flocked to Leazes Park Criteriums, in Newcastle’s Leazes Park, for part of the Virgin Money Cyclone.
Proceedings got underway with races in the youth, novice and senior categories before the much-anticipated elite contest.
Among the top cyclists battling it out was Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy.
Peter Harrison, event organiser, said the Cyclone is one of the events inspiring people in the region to take up cycling.
“Everything has been going really well,” he said. “This is our seventh year and the event just goes from strength to strength and it is great that we have attracted an Olympic gold medallist into the region.
“It really puts us on the world stage. The event is great for the region and great for the sport.”
“It is the first time I have been here and it is a great circuit and the weather should make the race really interesting. Everyone here is really friendly, the local hospitality has been really great.”
Ed Clancy said events like the Cyclone are helping to build on the legacy of the 2012 London Olympic Games.
He said: “I think the Olympics did a lot for cycling and it is great that you have people like Bradley Wiggins and Chris Hoy winning competitions.
“I think that, coupled with the fact that cycling is good for commuting, fuel prices are high and there is so much congestion on the roads; it has had a snowball effect.
“You also get a lot of families where the mum and dad cycle and the family end up going on cycling holidays – you just need that little bit of inspiration.”
Andrew Nicholson, head of sponsorship at Virgin Money added: “Virgin Money is extremely proud to sponsor the Cyclone event. Such is the attraction of the Friday night Leazes Criteriums that Olympic Gold medalist Ed Clancy took part. The joy of the Virgin Money Cyclone is that it has something for everyone.”
The event continues today when the Virgin Money Cyclone Challenge Rides take place in the Northumberland countryside.
For more information go to https://virginmoneycyclone.co.uk