TWO of Wales' most prestigious cycling events take place this weekend as part of the four-day 2012 Abergavenny Festival of Cycling.

Thousands of spectators are expected to descend on the town for the event, now in its sixth year, to watch riders compete in the Get Connected Wales Open Criterium race on Friday night, the Iron Mountain Sportif on Saturday and The Tour of the Black Mountains on Sunday.

The criterium race starts the festival and sees professional riders follow a route around the town centre between 5.30pm and 9.30pm, starting and finishing in Nevill Street.

Youngsters can sign up for their own races on the circuit from 5.30pm.

This year organisers have introduced a new event-Carnival Race in which they sport fancy dress at 7.15pm ahead of the annual Traders Race at 7.30pm.

The main event of the night is the Wales Open Criterrium which brings the best domestic riders in the country to the town at 8pm.

The Iron Mountain Sportif - which has been the centrepiece of the festival since it was re-introduced seven years ago, takes place in Bailey Park on Saturday.

Professional riders will follow a 100-mile route used in the 2009 national road race. People of all abilities can try shorter routes of between 19 miles and 100 miles.

The annual Abergavenny Carnival parade leaves from the Bus Station at midday on Saturday and culminates in Bailey Park for the Party in the Park event from 1pm. Activities include It's a Knockout and entertainment from Abba tribute band Bjorn to Rock between 4pm and 7pm.

For full details visit PANEL Seven town centre roads will be closed to traffic for the race on Friday night between 5pm and 11pm. They are; Frogmore Street, Nevill Street, Lion Street, Cross Street, Baker Street, High Street and Castle Street.