Crowds enjoy Abergavenny Festival of Cycling - as traders get into carnival spirit

Free Press Series: The start of the Traders Race and Carnival Race (7640878) The start of the Traders Race and Carnival Race (7640878)

CROWDS gathered in the streets tonight for the circuit racing in Abergavenny Festival of Cycling.

Races included the under 8’s, traders race , Welsh vets championship, Welsh women’s championship and the Welsh senior championship.

The youth races were extremely popular with 45 riders in the under 10’s category who had to complete a 10 minute ride plus a lap of the circuit.

Lesley Morris, 51, of Gilwern, said: “It’s great to have so many cycling events on your doorstep. My son Liam is a member of the M and D cycling club and taking part in the under 13’s race, he is quite competitive.

“He came 4th in the Deri Dash under 13’s on Tuesday, I was proud of him but he really wants to win today. He has qualified for the British Cycling National Track Championships which will be in London next month.”

Malcolm Cole, a coach at Abergavenny Road Club, had his three sons Ashley, 10, Mitchell, 13, and Elliot 7, taking part in the youth races.

He said: “This will be Ashley’s fourth town race, he absolutely loves it. We have quite a few talented youngsters coming through in the club, it’s a great race for them all to take part in.”

Traders from all over the town dressed up to take part in the trader’s race including John Bannon, 57, of Jaybe Soft Furnishings, who was dressed up in overalls and had a hat made of three stacked paint tins.

He said: “I’m part of the local business club and wanted to do my part to support the traders in Abergavenny. I took part in the race two years ago, they gave me the trophy because they thought I won but I was last of my group and crossed the finishing line before the next race – I hope to finish this year.”

Cllr Debby Blakebrough said: “Events like this are good for the community and for the economy. It’s a great atmosphere rather like a street carnival. It’s brilliant to see so many people here especially as it’s a difficult time to get people out together.

Cllr Martin Hickman, Mayor of Abergavenny, said: “It’s great to see crowds here. There could be 40,000 people in Abergavenny, it really puts us on the map. It’s a major event with the road race. It’s good for the cycling clubs of the town.

“We are very happy that major cycling events are coming to Abergavenny.”

Cyclists will take part in the Champion Sportive tomorrow which is split into a Bronze route of twenty miles, a Silver route of 67 miles and the full Gold route which involves a climb up the Tumble Mountain between Abergavenny and Blaenavon. The route will be the same route that cycling stars will ride tomorrow including Lizzie Armistead, the defending women’s champion.

Cycling stars Mark Cavendish and Sir Bradley Wiggins were meant to be taking part in the road championships but have had to pull out.

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