‘Brilliant’ cycling event in Saffron Walden is hailed a success
PUBLISHED: 08:57 29 August 2019 | UPDATED: 08:57 29 August 2019
Saffron Walden witnessed its first cycling race since the 2014 Tour de France on Sunday.
The Saffron Walden Grand Prix brought a high-quality cycle racing event to the town, which included a traffic-free bike ride open to all, women's and men's open races and women's and men's elite races.
The 1.1km closed road circuit started and finished in High Street, and included cycling in Gold Street and up a sharp climb towards St Mary's Church.
Miriam Bullock, 36, a cyclist from London, said: "It's a really great opportunity to race in the sunshine on closed roads, in a really lovely town. We had an amazing show, there were people out and I couldn't pass up the chance to race where there's a crowd and an atmosphere."
Matthew Clements, 21, a full-time cyclist for Richardsons-Trek RT who lives near Bishop's Stortford, said: "From a racer's perspective it was a brilliant event, I hope it's run again in the future".
It was not just cyclists who seemed to enjoy the event. Passerby Geraldine Hackett-Jones, 77, who lives near Radwinter, said: "It was a very exciting event. It created a lovely buzz and it was a lovely idea. It created a lovely, exciting atmosphere in the town and they looked after everybody, whether they were racing or not."
Nick Weetch, 42, carpenter, who has been living in Saffron Walden since 2010, was at the race and is enthusiastic about future editions. He said: "It was amazing to see the town come alive on such a hot day and see some super fast bicycle racing. Bring on 2020. Events like this are what make Saffron Walden so brilliant and wonderful. Seeing so many families out riding on closed, peaceful roads brought a smile to my face too."
The event was organised by Monument Cycling.
The women's elite race was won by Jo Tindley, the national circuit series champion. Then, in the men's elite race, James Jenkins from Essex took the win ahead of his Richardson's-Trek teammate Isaac Mundy, runner up in this year's national championships.
Owen Lake, 27, event organiser born and raised in Saffron Walden, said it was "great to see the best cyclists in the country" come to his home town.
Since finishing his own racing career, Owen set up Monument Cycling with the aim of promoting men's and women's racing in the UK.
"I'm really happy with how the day turned out. I'm usually a little nervous before a big event, but I needn't have been; the support from locals was fantastic, and the feedback from competitors and participants was better than I could have hoped for," Owen said.