An online campaign conducted via social media channels including Facebook has succeeded in having the women’s race reinstated at the IG Markets London Nocturne on Saturday 9 June, although organisers are calling on female cyclists to submit their entry by the end of next month to guarantee that it can go ahead.
As we reported earlier this month when details of what will be the sixth edition of the IG Markets London Nocturne were announced, a row broke out over the decision not to have a women’s race this year, due to a combination of factors including a strong line-up of competing events for female riders and a low number of entries in previous years.
The decision provoked outrage among both female cyclists and supporters of the sport in general, with users of Twitter and Facebook urged to email organisers Face Partnership to seek to have the race reinstated.
Those efforts have now proved successful, with Face Partnership saying on the IG Markets London Nocturne website that “due to an overwhelming response from the elite cycling community we have consulted with British Cycling and decided to reinstate the women’s race into this year’s event.”
Event sponsors IG Markets gave their support to the inclusion of the race on the revised programme, while London-based clothing brand Rapha was said by organisers to have been instrumental in getting the race reinstated and will sponsor it under the name the Rapha Women's Elite Criterium.
To accommodate the race, some changes have had to be made to previously published timings, and the event programme is now as follows:
16:00 Warm up laps - all riders
16:30 Folding Bike Race heats
17:20 Support Race - 40 minutes plus 3 laps
18:10 IG City Criterium - 20 minutes plus 3 laps
18:50 Brooks Penny Farthing Race - 30 minutes plus 3 laps
19:30 Elite Elimination Race
20:00 Schwalbe Fixed Gear Longest Skid
20:20 Folding Bike Race Final - 5 laps
20:45 Rapha Elite Women’s Criterium - 30 minutes plus 3 laps
21:25 Elite Criterium - 50 minutes plus 3 laps
22:20 Elite male and female podium presentations
IG Markets London Nocturne event director James Pope said: “It has been a challenge to attract a large field in previous years so the demand demonstrated shows that women's cycling is on the up in the UK and this has compelled us to reinstate the race in 2012.
“We are delighted by the response we have received from the elite cycling community and are incredibly pleased to have Rapha on board as race sponsor and look forward to a highly atmospheric and competitive race,” he added.
A minimum of 50 entries is required for the race to be confirmed, and online entry can be made through the London Nocturne website.
Meanwhile, it has also been confirmed that Channel 4, which last broadcast cycling during the 2001 Tour de France, will be showing a one-hour highlights package on the morning of Sunday 17 June. The programme will also be available to view on the 4oD video on demand service.
Talking about the TV coverage, Pope said: “We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Channel 4 who will be official broadcast partner for the event," commented Nocturne founder James Pope. "Channel 4 was the home of cycling with their coverage of the Tour de France so we are delighted the Nocturne will bring back cycling coverage in 2012.”
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.