Evening's programme includes Cycle Hire Challenge Race for the locals...

Blackpool FC may be back in the top flight of English football, but a week before the town’s famous Bloomfield Road ground hosts its first FA Premier League match on Saturday 28 August, it will be the coastal resort’s cycling fans who will get to see their sport’s stars in action with the return of the Blackpool Nocturne.

First held last year, when the inaugural race was won by Ed Clancy of Team Halfords BikeHut, this year’s race will take place on Saturday 21 August on a new 1km circuit starting and finishing outside the Winter Gardens that will see the riders racing through the new ‘Brilliance’ sound and light show on Birley Street.

According to James Pope of race organisers Face Partnership, “The new Blackpool Nocturne circuit is going to be visually stunning. The Brilliance light show will create a tunnel of lights and music which will create an extra dimension to the racing and will look fantastic once the darkness falls.”

There will also be a full programme of support races including the Dahon Folding Bike Race, a feature of the other events in the series in London’s Smithfield Market and Edinburgh, and a new event for 2010, the Blackpool Cycle Hire Challenge, which will see members of the public battle it out on the town’s fleet of hire bikes, which is due to number 500 by the end of the summer.

Councillor Maxine Callow, Cabinet Member for Tourism and Regeneration, said: “Last year’s Nocturne Cycle race was a fantastic event and really drew the crowds in. I’m delighted that this year the race will travel through Brilliance, our wonderful new sound and light show.”

She continued: “The Blackpool cycle hire scheme has proved a great success since its launch last July. The programme began with a demonstration phase of 60 bikes split between the Promenade and Stanley Park but will now be extended across the town with 500 bikes across 70 docking stations by the end of the summer.”

Racing starts at 6pm and full details of the evening’s programme, including online entry to the Cycle Hire Challenge, can be found on the event website.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.