Cycle stars beam at Aylsham round of the 2013 Tour Series
Aylsham buzzed with elite-level cycling on Thursday night to reiterate the region's love for the sport.
The penultimate round of the Pearl Izumi Tour Series took up the baton from past Norfolk visits from the Tour of Britain – and Aylsham lapped up the team-orientated cycling festival.
With impressive crowds lining every inch of the 1.2km circuit, Olympic track cycling champion Ed Clancy was subdued by the dominant Team UK Youth – run by former Lotus Formula One driver Nigel Mansell – as they extended their lead in the team competition, while Chris Opie took the finish line in superb style on the night in the setting Norfolk sun.
'The team has surpassed my expectations totally,' said Mansell. 'We are all tired and they have just delivered a very special victory tonight. It was stunning.
'It's been absolutely wonderful here in Aylsham. I know these streets and the track itself was great. Really interesting. The crowd has been fabulous too.'
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Bright new thing Hannah Barnes did her bit too, completing her grand prix series title triumph with safe passage through Aylsham's streets – and in front of her family.
'The Tour comes here most years and the Tour Series is here this year,' said Barnes. 'My grandma lives really close, in Bessingham, and my uncle Nick came to watch tonight.
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'I've trained around here before and I actually came and drove the course the other day and it was a lovely summer's day, so it's a shame it was so wet – but you could still smell the barbeque.
'My grandma goes and watches the Tour and says how amazing it is. And even with the weather like this, there are still loads of people who have turned out. So it's been great.'