Night time racing is set to return to the streets around London’s historic Smithfield Market for the fifth year running this June, under a new name – The London Nocturne – and with a new backer, IG Markets, sponsor of Team Sky. The race will also be televised for the first time, on Sky Sports – a sign perhaps that the channel is looking to build its profile in cycling on the broadcasting side of things – as organisers reveal that they want to make it the leading criterium in the world.
This year’s event takes place on Saturday 11 June, and will also feature a new event, the IG Markets Team Challenge, which will pitch corporate teams against one another in several disciplines – sprint, time trial and criterium – before a team relay finale. Competitors in that event will be able to access the VIP hospitality area on the start/finish line between their races.
Besides that event and the showpiece Elite Men’s criterium, there is of course a full supporting programme of races, including an Elite Women’s criterium, the ever popular folding bike race, a fixed gear longest skid competition and – we’re looking forward to this – a penny farthing race.
Tim Howkins, Chief Executive of IG Group, said: “We are delighted to announce our partnership with the London Nocturne. Cycling is currently going through a renaissance and we believe it has a specific appeal to our target audiences. We hope that our commitment to the event will help deliver the sport to a more mainstream audience whilst helping IG Markets promote its products to a growing audience.”
James Pope, Founder of the Nocturne Series, outlined his ambitions for the London race, which has been followed by sister events in Blackpool and Edinburgh, saying: “With the support of IG Markets we are aiming to develop the London Nocturne into the leading criterium event in the world over the next three years. The new partnership has helped secure Sky Sports as the host broadcaster and the London Nocturne will be televised for the first time this year.
“We will be bringing in riders from World Tour teams to take on the top British riders so that we can give everyone with any interest in cycling, from hardcore fans to people that commute on their bike, the chance to see some of the world’s best riders in action in the heart of the City of London.”
Given IG Markets’ sponsorship of the event and the fact it is being shown on Sky Sports, it’s pretty much certain that some of those riders will be sporting Team Sky colours. Dean Downing of Rapha-Condor-Sharp was at today’s launch in London, and brother Russ is a past winner of the event, which could lead to some sibling rivalry come June.
Full details of the evening’s programme as well as entry to IG Markets Team 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.