Mark Cavendish pops along to Herne Hill Rollapaluza

Busy week for roller raciers also sees Lawrence Dallaglio take on Les Ferdinand go head to head

Cycling fans attending last week’s Rollapaluza Winter League event at the Half Moon pub in Herne Hill, London, were astonished to be rubbing shoulders with none other than HTC-Columbia’s star sprinter, Mark Cavendish, who was in the capital for a photoshoot.

The Manx Missile, whose recent dental problems have forced him to restrict his training and put back the start of his 2010 racing season, didn’t actually take to the rollers himself, but instead spent a couple of hours intently following the action and chatted happily with some of the 200 fans and riders packed into the South London Venue.

In what is proving to be a busy winter for Rollapaluza – next Friday 12 February sees another round of the Winter League series, this time in Cambridge – two former England international sportsmen did go head to head on the rollers at a separate event in London on Thursday evening.

The occasion was the launch of ex-England rugby captain Lawrence Dallaglio’s Cycle Slam charity ride, which will take the big forward on a 2,800km trip through Britain, Ireland, France and Italy to visit all six of the stadia used in the RBS Six Nations tournament, which began this weekend.

Dallaglio challenged former England football star Led Ferdinand to a 500m race over the rollers – shown in the photo gallery above – but the ex-Wasps player, despite setting a time of 25.62 seconds, equivalent to 44mph, was beaten by Ferdinand, who came in at 22.35 seconds, just topping 50mph.

Full details of next week’s Winter League event in Cambridge are available on the Rollapaluza website, and further dates will take place in Southampton on Sunday 28 February, and in Manchester on a date yet to be announced. The team will also be involved in the UK Courier Championships in London on 19 February.

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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