Intro - Parcours - Hazards - Favourites - Weather - Spectating - TV
|Smithfield Market (in the foreground, East Poultry Lane) -
the riders will race for 30' + three laps around it
The women's race almost didn't happen this year after British Cycling approached organisers and asked for it to be dropped. Their reasoning was that the riders might favour the Nocturne over another race taking place the next day (one organised by British Cycling, funnily enough). Team Mule Bar Girl were first on the case, drumming up support for the race with their Facebook page:
"So British Cycling have asked Smithfield Nocturne NOT to hold a women's race because it makes the girls tired for a big BC race the next day. The last I checked we weren't living in North Korea and we are allowed to choose how we spend our time. The Nocturne Women's race is one of the most talked about on the calendar, it's the one we get bubbly with excitment for. It took a big effort and some beautiful support for it to happen in the first place, just to have it taken away, it totally sucks!!!"Stefan Wyman , as owner and manager of one of Britain's best-known women's teams Matrix-Prendas and perhaps the foremost advocate of women's cycling in the country, also felt that the riders should have the choice to enter whichever race they preferred. He also revealed that British Cycling had made their request without first asking the riders for their opinions, and highlighted the fact that as the Nocturne is televised and attracts a huge crowd it's a more important event as far as women's cycling is concerned:
"The Smithfield nocturne was a stand out event in 2011. Professional promotion, closed circuit, exciting commentary and a huge crowd, made for a thrilling evening race. This was all topped off with television coverage making this event exactly what I feel women’s cycling in the UK needs." (Wyman was kind enough to pen a statement on the matter, which can be read here)Then the fans got involved, emailing and writing to the Nocturne organisers in huge numbers asking them to go ahead with the race as well as letting British Cycling know what they thought of their request. It didn't take long for the Nocturne to announce that, provided sufficient riders signed up to take part, they'd reinstate the race - and it happened, living proof that team officials, race organisers, riders and fans can all help promote women's cycling and do something towards getting it the recognition, coverage and respect it and the riders deserve. Congratulations are due also to Rapha for giving the race financial backing.
|The parcours (click the image to enlarge)
|Profile - click to enlarge
|Helen Wyman - Les Déesses choice for
The only thing that's certain, however, is this is going to be one of the most hotly-contested races Britain has seen for some time.
Well, how about that? After nearly a week of rain and with another week of rain expected to start tomorrow, it looks as though Saturday is going to be dry and even quite warm at 20C - which will come as good news to the participants of the London Naked Bike Ride also taking place today. It'll be a little cooler this evening when the race kicks off, but since large cities remain a few degrees warmer than surrounding countryside and the buildings provide shelter from the wind around 16C can be expected during the women's race.
All points along the parcours are easily accessible and the event is free to watch. Obvious vantage points are the start line (especially due to the Speed of Execution Challenge), though large crowds will gather here (51°31'7.61"N 0° 6'5.11"W); the Snowhill/Long Lane corner (51°31'3.87"N 0° 6'16.84"W); the exit of East Poultry Lane (especially if the cafe over the road is open, 51°31'9.59"N 0° 6'10.61"W) and the Charterhouse Road/Lindsey Street corner (51°31'12.48"N 0° 6'0.86"W).
Channel 4 will be showing highlights of all the races - including the penny-farthing race and the longest fixie skid contest - in a 55-minute programme to be broadcast at 07:10 on Sunday the 17th, the first time they've covered cycling since they gave up the right to broadcast Tour de France coverage eleven years ago. Channel 4 is available via online streams around the world and the programme will be made available on their 4OD catch-up service.