Rapha Nocturne Series - A New Dawn in Copenhagen
The preserve of the London streets for ten years, the Rapha Nocturne will now be an international event with the first event of a planned series taking place in Copenhagen this summer.
Nocturne launched in London a decade ago, as the brainchild of Rapha, FACE Partnership and Condor Cycles, and the night-time crit race has attracted high-class fields from the very start.
With a winners’ list boasting WorldTour riders such as Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard and Alex Dowsett, as well as Olympic champions Laura Kenny and Katie Archibald on the women’s side, the Nocturne is one of the most hotly contested crits in world cycling.
So now, with Rapha back on board with a three-year deal, the time has come to expand to new horizons, starting with Scandinavia on August 19.
The course around Copenhagen comes in shorter than the 1.3km race around the City of London, with riders facing a challenging route of less than 1km that includes nine corners – seven of which are right angles.
And for FACE Partnership CEO James Pope, Copenhagen is just the start.
“We are at the start of a new three year partnership with Rapha and they were part of the original idea to create the Nocturne – so it has come full circle now,” he said.
“We are going to take the event to some of the most iconic cities in the world, Copenhagen being the first city later this year – and then expanding to the US and beyond.
“It’s all about Rapha’s ambitions and working with us to create the Rapha Nocturne Series, which will be a world series with the aim of finding the best crit racer in the world.”
Rapha founder and chief executive Simon Mottram shared Pope’s ambition and wants to utilise his company’s existing global presence.
“Rapha has grown massively in ten years and cycling has grown hugely in ten years. We are now in a number of different countries around the world, and most of our sales are international,” he said.
“So we really want to put together a proper global series of events. And in all of those cities you have the same kind of cycling culture that you have in London – with amazing fans of the sport, active riders, commuter, families who can come together and celebrate the sport together.”
While for elite riders such as Ed Clancy, the series offers another opportunity for him to showcase his crit racing skills to a wider audience – and he is expecting some interesting tactics to come into play.
“At least in my cycling career, this will be the first time we’ve had a series that will be ranked on an individual basis that will go internationally,” said the 2015 Nocturne champion.
“That in itself is a unique thing and it’s quite exciting. You’ll look at the championship and it will be interesting tactically, because whatever happens in the first round, that will affect who teams work for in round two.
“Teams will work for whoever did well in round one and look to defend a place in the championship – it could make for some pretty interesting racing if you’ve got five or six guys all looking after one rider because you don’t often see that in a crit.”