THOUSANDS of cycling fans lined the streets of Chester to watch the country’s brightest pedal-powered talent in the Tour Series.
The battle of the bikes, pitting 50 racers on a high-speed 1.4km circuit, was a great success as former Australian champ Darren Lapthorne, racing for Chester’s adopted team Rapha Condor, took first place.
Revelling in the wet conditions, Lapthorne sprinted ahead just minutes into the hour-long race.
Reaching speeds of more than 25mph on the city’s cobbled streets, the skilled cyclists battled to take the top 10 places.
A judges’ decision saw team Candi TV take first place, followed by Rapha Condor and then Madison.co.uk rounding off the top three, while Darren Lapthorne took first place in the individual sprint event.
Cheshire West and Chester culture and recreation executive member Richard Short said: “It was estimated about 10,000 people came to Chester city centre to watch the Tour Series event.
“This will really benefit the city, it was a great success and it will be marvellous if we could have them back next year.”
Prior to the main event, Chester community groups took to the track for a parade of Cycling through the Ages and Cycling for Pleasure.
Penny farthings, BMXs and a selection of more weird and wonderful modes of bicycle transport congregated in Bridge Street before setting off on the route up Northgate Street, down St Werburgh Street and back up Eastgate Street.
Children from Overleigh St Mary’s Primary School displayed their newly-acquired Bikeability skills. The youngsters have recently completed the cycle safety course, described as a cycling proficiency test for the 21st century.
Other groups taking part included the Chester Triathlon Club, the Wheels for All Disability Group and Marcus Condon with his specially-designed ice cream trike.