GALLERY & VIDEO: Crowds line Whittlesey, Pondersbridge, Benwick and Ramsey Mereside for thrilling cycle race

Circuit of the fens cycle race. Picture: Steve Williams.

Circuit of the fens cycle race. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

MORE than 1,500 people lined Fenland’s roads to watch more than more than 140 elite riders, including Olympians and Tour de France stage winners, push themselves to the limit in Britain’s longest single day road race on Sunday.

Circuit of the fens cycle race. Picture: Steve Williams.

Circuit of the fens cycle race. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

They were taking part in the first Circuit of the Fens, a mammoth 200km National A category race, which began and finished in Whittlesey town centre.

Circuit of the fens cycle race. Picture: Steve Williams.

Circuit of the fens cycle race. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

The cyclists did six laps of a 27km circuit, which took them through Pondersbridge, Ramsey Mereside, Ramsey Forty Foot and Benwick.

Circuit of the fens cycle race. Picture: Steve Williams.

Circuit of the fens cycle race. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

At the end of the sixth lap, riders made their way back into Whittlesey via Coates and Eastrea, did six laps around Whittlesey and sprinted to the finish line in Market Street.

Circuit of the fens cycle race. Picture: Steve Williams.

Circuit of the fens cycle race. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

In a thrilling elite race packed full of relentless attacking, Marcin Bialoblocki, of UK Youth, crossed the finishing line first, followed by team mates Niklas Gustavsson and Joshua Hunt.

Circuit of the fens cycle race. Picture: Steve Williams.

Circuit of the fens cycle race. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant


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He completed the course in a remarkable four hours 36.46 minutes.

Circuit of the fens cycle race. Picture: Steve Williams.

Circuit of the fens cycle race. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Carl Dyson, of the Clay Cross Road Team, claimed the honours in the amateur race in a time of two hours 55.18 minutes.

Circuit of the fens cycle race .Picture: Rob Morris.

Circuit of the fens cycle race .Picture: Rob Morris. - Credit: Archant

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The event was organised and promoted by Anglia Cycling and St Ives Cycling Club.

Circuit of the fens cycle race .Picture: Rob Morris.

Circuit of the fens cycle race .Picture: Rob Morris. - Credit: Archant

Race organiser Tom Caldwell said: “The event was designed to raise the profile of Fenland and act as a rehearsal for the Tour De France, which is coming to Cambridgeshire next year.

Circuit of the fens cycle race .Picture: Rob Morris.

Circuit of the fens cycle race .Picture: Rob Morris. - Credit: Archant

“In my view, for a first time event, it was a stunning success.

Circuit of the fens cycle race .Picture: Rob Morris.

Circuit of the fens cycle race .Picture: Rob Morris. - Credit: Archant

“The racing on offer was some of the best I’ve seen this year and we were pleased with the size of the crowds.

Circuit Of The Fens road race, going through Benwick High Street.

Circuit Of The Fens road race, going through Benwick High Street. - Credit: Archant

“There must have been more than 1,200 people in Whittlesey town centre and about 300 people in Benwick watching the race.

Circuit Of The Fens road race, going through Benwick High Street.

Circuit Of The Fens road race, going through Benwick High Street. - Credit: Archant

“We want to develop this into a big international event.”

Circuit Of The Fens road race, going through Benwick High Street.

Circuit Of The Fens road race, going through Benwick High Street. - Credit: Archant

As well as the racing, a host of cycling themed community activities were set up, including a leisure cycle ride, cycle maintenance clinic, BMX demonstration and a ‘come and try it’ roller session.

Riders travel through Pondersbridge during the Circuit of the Fens cycle race.

Riders travel through Pondersbridge during the Circuit of the Fens cycle race. - Credit: Archant

Colin Coe, of St Ives Cycling Club, said: “The event went very well and the feedback has been very favourable.

Riders travel through Pondersbridge during the Circuit of the Fens cycle race.

Riders travel through Pondersbridge during the Circuit of the Fens cycle race. - Credit: Archant

“The council and the people of Whittlesey were really supportive and it was a very fast, exciting race.

Riders travel through Pondersbridge during the Circuit of the Fens cycle race.

Riders travel through Pondersbridge during the Circuit of the Fens cycle race. - Credit: Archant

“When we went through Benwick, people had organised a day of activities outside the pub and I think the riders really enjoyed the reception they got.

Riders travel through Pondersbridge during the Circuit of the Fens cycle race.

Riders travel through Pondersbridge during the Circuit of the Fens cycle race. - Credit: Archant

“British Cycling board members were there and they said they were very impressed with the event, which is encouraging as we push for inclusion on the Premier Calendar next year.

Circuit Of The Fens road race, going through Benwick High Street.

Circuit Of The Fens road race, going through Benwick High Street. - Credit: Archant

“I think the day demonstrated the people of Fenland are very receptive to cycling.”

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