2012 IG Markets London Nocturne kicks off with a pre-race row
Elite men's crit, folding bike race, skid comp… but where's the women's race? Light blue touchpaper…
Top class night racing returns to the City of London on June 9th with the 6th edition of the IG London Nocturne - this year's event will also be filmed on Channel 4 and be available to watch online on 4OD, the announcement of all this good stuff was also accompanied by a row over the omission of women's racing from the schedule - which now looks likely to be restored.
Since its launch in 2008 the Nocturne become a focal point on the London cycling calendar and evolved from being a series of races in to a mini cycling festival in the heart of the city.This year's Nocturn will offer the usual mix of top class elite crit racing, a Folding Bike race (which is also pretty top class), a Penny Farthing race plus a longest skid competition. The evening's entertainment will further be enlivened by the chance to cheer on your banker of choice in the IG City Criterium which pits teams of five city types against each other to see who's the fastest company in the Square Mile.
However, all that was over-shadowed yesterday by the row which ensured when it emerged that a sixth edition of the women's race had been cut from this year's Nocturne Schedule.
Rightly or wrongly British Cycling stood cast as the villain accussed of putting pressure on Nocturne organiser, Face Partnership to drop the women's event because of a clash with the Women's National Road Series taking place the next day, however a British Cycling representative that we spoke to categorically denied that the organisation had exerted any pressure but had merely responded to a request from the Nocturne organisers for information on other events taking place on the same weekend, they had not been involved in the decision to drop the women's race which was solely taken by the organiser.
Whatever the actual in and outs of this one Facebook and Twitter quickly lit up with women riders and cycle sport fans quick to point out that it wasn't up to British Cycling to decide for its members where they raced. The Face Parnership also came in for criticism for not standing up to the governing body - race organisers are always in invidious position in such circumstances as they need to maintain good relations with BC which licences their event. A a clash with some European events was a further complicating factor, Face Partnership spokesperson, Bethan Turner told road.cc. Looking in from the outside it seems that the most likely scenario is that a combination of strong competing events, difficulties in filling the field in previous years and a possible misunderstanding of emphasis between the organiser and BC led to the decision. However just as quickly as it was gone the Nocturne women's race now looks to be on the way back.
Quickly responding to the strength of feeling on the matter the Face Parnership has aked all those interested in taking part in a women's race at this year's Nocturne to email firstname.lastname@example.org. Such has been the response so far that it seems highly likely that the race will be restored - we can expect an announcement in the next 24 hours on that. In a final irony it is also likely that the field for the sixth edition of the Nocturne women's race will be bigger than in previous years when according to Bethan it has sometimes been a struggle to fill the women's race.
IG London Nocturne provisional schedule:*
17:00 - Folding Bike Race heats
18:00 - Support Race (40 minutes plus 5 laps)
18:50 - IG City Criterium
19:30 - Brooks Penny Farthing Race
20:15 - Elite Elimination Race
20:40 - Schwalbe Fixed Gear Longest Skid
20:55 - Folding Bike Race Final (5 laps)
21:15 - Elite Criterium (50 minutes plus 5 laps)
22:15 - FINISH
You can find out more about this year's IG Markets London Nocturne and how you can take part or go along and watch – it's a free – by visiting www.londonnocturne.com
*Probably a very provisional schedule