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Pedal power takes over Norwich city centre during road closures

PUBLISHED: 11:20 30 June 2019 | UPDATED: 13:50 30 June 2019

Cyclists at the start of the British Cycling Festival 100 mile sportive. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Cyclists at the start of the British Cycling Festival 100 mile sportive. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2019

Exhaust fumes were replaced with pedal power as cyclists took over Norwich city centre for the British Cycling Championship.

The start of the British Cycling Festival men's elite race at City Hall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe start of the British Cycling Festival men's elite race at City Hall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Great British Cycling Festival has been hosting the HSBC UK National Road Championships in 2019, which involves elite races, a 100-mile sportive and a family cycle around Norwich.

It saw several roads closed in Norwich city centre and across Norfolk, and by 9am when the elite riders took off barely a car could be seen.

After the professional riders set off from outside City Hall, amateur's taking on a 100 mile sportive were send out in waves from around 9.30am.

Today there is also Let's Ride Norwich, a free, family cycling event from 9.30am to 12.30pm.

Cyclists wait their turn to start the British Cycling Festival 100 mile sportive. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYCyclists wait their turn to start the British Cycling Festival 100 mile sportive. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Chris Keen, from Hellesdon, rides with cycling club The Yorkies, based out of the Eagle pub on Newmarket Road.

He was there to cheer on his team mates in the 100 mile sportive, and catch a glimpse of professionals including Mark Cavendish compete in the elite race.

"We wanted to watch the pros leave and there are some guys from the club doing the 100 mile so I am here to cheer them on," he said.

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"I wanted to race but with two young children I couldn't do it this year. I haven't got 100 miles in my legs at the moment.

"You don't really get the chance to see guys of the calibre of [Mark Cavendish] and to see them in Norwich is something quite unique," he said.

"We have been looking forward to this for a few weeks."

Mr Keen, 46, and his daughter did bring their bikes so they could take a tour of the city centre while the roads were closed.

Spectators watch the cyclists taking part in the British Cycling Festival 100 mile sportive. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSpectators watch the cyclists taking part in the British Cycling Festival 100 mile sportive. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Tammy Purnell, 40, and her daughter Maya, 12, also took to two wheels to take advantage of free rein of the city.

They had come from Horning to take part in Let's Ride.

"It is just a bit of fun for us," she said. "We like cycling and just wanted to come to support it.

"For them to close the roads in Norwich is quite unusual and it is a really nice chance to look around Norwich. It is amazing and such a great opportunity."

The start of the British Cycling Festival men's elite race at City Hall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe start of the British Cycling Festival men's elite race at City Hall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Road closures are expected to start lifting from 6pm when the women's elite races is likely to finish.

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