Several UCI WorldTour riders, including 2011 Milan-San Remo winner Matt Goss, runner-up to Mark Cavendish in last September’s world championship, have been confirmed as joining the cream of Britain’s domestic talent in the Saint-Gobain Elite Criterium for this evening’s IG London Nocturne, held in the streets around the capital’s historic Smithfield Market.
Defeding champion Alex Dowsett of Team Sky won't be there, but looking to keep the title in-house will be team mates Davide Appollonio, who last year came very close to snatching a Giro d’Italia stage win from then HTC-Highroad rider Cavendish, Chris Sutton, who picked up his first Grand Tour stage win in last year’s Vuelta, and Ian Stannard, who has developed a reputation as one of the hardest workers in the peloton.
Lining up alongside Goss in the colours of Orica-GreenEdge, meanwhile, will be fellow Australian Brett Lancaster, a former world and Olympic champion in the team pursuit and winner of the Giro d’Italia prologue in 2005.
“It would definitely be nice to come to the Olympic Games having won my last race in London”, said Goss, who spent eight days in the red points jersey at last month’s Giro.
“It’s another chance to have a bit of intensity before my next block of racing and to race in a place where we wouldn’t get to very often. Racing under lights is a little bit different; it’s kind of cool as you usually get a good crowd out for dinner, so it’s always a nice atmosphere. I enjoy it.”
While the stars of the WorldTour might get a lot of attention tonight, they’ll face stiff opposition from strong line-ups from Endura Racing, Rapha Condor Sharp, IG-Sigma, Raleigh-GAC, Metaltek-Scott, Cycle Premier and UK Youth, all of whom have the advantage of having focused on criterium races in recent weeks through the Halfords Tour Series.
During the men’s race as well as the women’s criterium earlier in the evening, there will also be a cash prize on offer for the fastest rider across the line in the IG Speed of Execution Challenge, created by sponsor IG Markets, the name inspired by its business in which speed of trades is vital.
As ever, there is a full supporting programme starting at 4.30pm, with events including a Penny Farthing Race, Folding Bike Race and Longest Skid Competition. Full details can be found on the IG London Nocturne website, and highlights will be shown on Channel 4 next Saturday at 7am as well as being available online on 4OD.
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.