TDF07 Pre: London Calling
With just over two weeks to go before the Tour de France Grand Depart the only other central London based cycling event in advance of the Tour takes place this Saturday. The Rapha Condor sponsored Smithfield Nocturne brings criterium racing to the streets of the capital.
Based on a 900 meter course around the historic Smithfield meat market the event will be an entire evening celebrating all things cycling, culminating in the elite pro race which will showcase the talents of ProTour stars against the best guys on the UK scene.
The Smithfield Nocturne promises something for everyone whatever type of bike they ride…. but wouldn’t you just love to see Millar & McGee going at it on a couple of Butchers Bikes.
Liniing up at the start will be yellow jersey contender David Millar, Bradley McGee, and Matt Goss alongside British based talent like Dean Downing, and Multi Olympic medalist Rob Hayles. However my tips for the win on this very technical circuit where a bit of local knowledge & crowd support should help are London Kiwi Warwick Spence -who corners like he’s on rails, or one of the Plowman Craven riders like Tony Gibb or Gordon Mcauley. Somehow I can’t see potential tour leaders going head to head with only weeks to go before the prologue.
The Smithfield meat market is the backdrop for Saturdays Nocturne and the tight course should guarantee a little elbow work.
Outside of the Pro race there is going to be plenty more to keep the Saturday night crowd entertained including a Team Courier race, and a Folding bike commuter race with a ‘LeMans’ style start with all commuters dressed in jackets and ties (those guys can be evil if they’ve got a train to catch).
Should be a great night and a real taste of the expected atmosphere to come on July 7th.