Fans and riders in a spin over popular Doncaster Cycle Festival

Doncaster Festival of Cycling 2015'Crowds gather to watch the action
Doncaster Festival of Cycling 2015'Crowds gather to watch the action
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Thousands of spectators gathered for a spectacular day of dynamic bike racing at the annual Doncaster Cycle Festival.

An estimated crowd of 5000 people descended on Sir Nigel Gresley Square on Sunday to watch more than 300 riders battle it out around a closed 1km town centre circuit.

Doncaster Festival of Cycling 2015'Under 10s race

Doncaster Festival of Cycling 2015'Under 10s race

The eight-race programme was topped by the Whinfrey Briggs Grand Prix, which saw elite riders including former British circuit racing champion Graham Briggs, of Rossington, and double Olympian John Tanner, from Sprotbrough, battle it out.

The top of the bill race was won by Harry Tanfield, of the JLT Condor team, who finished ahead of his brother Charlie. In third place was Thomas Pidcock, 15, of the Speedflex Race team, who had also won the under 16s boys race earlier in the day.

The day also saw juniors from aged eight upwards take to the start line, and there was also a full schedule of women’s races and paracyclists took part for the first time.

Aside from the dynamic racing, the crowds also enjoyed plenty of attractions in the main square, which included a live brass band, and more than 20 stalls offering advice on how to get into cycling and the health benefits it brings.

Doncaster Festival of Cycling 2015'Under 8's race winners on the podium

Doncaster Festival of Cycling 2015'Under 8's race winners on the podium

This was the second cycle festival since the event was relaunched last year after a break of about 30 years.

Organiser and president of Doncaster Wheelers Cycle Club Martin Maltby said the 2015 event eclipsed the success of last year’s.

The 47-year-old, of Edenthorpe, who also owns the Don Valley Cycles shop, said: “It was a fantastic day and everyone seemed to be having a great time watching some top-level cycle racing.

“The festival has grown in stature and we are seeing more and more people join cycle clubs in the area, especially the younger riders. Cycling has a bright future in Doncaster.”

Doncaster Festival of Cycling 2015'Womens 3/4 Race'Start of the Whinfrey Briggs Grand Prix

Doncaster Festival of Cycling 2015'Womens 3/4 Race'Start of the Whinfrey Briggs Grand Prix

The festival follows the success of Le Grand Depart Yorkshire leg of the Tour de France last year and the Tour de Yorkshire in May.

Mr Maltby added the wheels are already in motion for next year’s festival.

He said: “We had a de-brief after the festival and agreed it wil lreturn again next year. Cycle clubs, Doncaster Council, businesses and other agencies are all in support of the event. It‘s great to see.”

Sunday’s festival saw riders negotiate a tough 1km square circuit took in Waterdale, Wood Street, Cleveland Street and College Road.

Doncaster Festival of Cycling 2015'Womens 3/4 Race'Whinfrey Briggs Grand Prix'A rider tries to get back to the leading group

Doncaster Festival of Cycling 2015'Womens 3/4 Race'Whinfrey Briggs Grand Prix'A rider tries to get back to the leading group

British Cycling also provided live commentary on the races and the winners picked up their medals from a podium near to the start and finish line.

The race day was also elevated from ‘National B’ to ‘National A’ status, giving it more prominence on the British Cycling calendar. Bob Howden, president of British Cycling, was among the spectators.

Riders from across the UK, including as far away as the Isle of Man, Exeter and London travelled to Doncaster to compete.

The festival square included stalls from Cycle Boost, Get Doncaster Cycling, British Cycling, emergency services, Public Health Doncaster and Doncaster College. Sky’s Jaguar F-Type team car was also popular with many visitors posing for pictures in front of it. Doncaster mayor Ros Jones, who also attended, said: “Mayor Ros Jones said: “I was very pleased to see such a great turn out from riders and supporters alike. Sporting occasions like this, the upcoming Doncaster Bike Week and the European Jet Ski championships in July emphasise Doncaster’s superb ability to put on enjoyable and successful events.”

For more information visit http://www.doncastercyclefest.com/

NDFP Doncaster Cycle Festival   L>R   Martin Maltby

NDFP Doncaster Cycle Festival L>R Martin Maltby