Rapha Nocturne Series Launch
Riders and organisers alike hailed the creation of the Rapha Nocturne Series as a second race was announced in Copenhagen at the launch of the 2017 London event.
The London race was launched in 2006 as a collaboration between Rapha, Condor Cycles and FACE Partnership – creators of the Revolution Track Cycling Series – and has grown to become the world’s premier night time criterium.
After several years away from the race, Rapha is now back on board for a three-year partnership and has ambitions to create a global series and find the ultimate circuit racer in world cycling.
The first stage in that process was announced at Rapha’s Spitalfields Clubhouse on Thursday as the summer’s London race was launched, alongside the Copenhagen event which will take place on August 19.
And the idea was met with excitement from 2015 London Nocturne champion Ed Clancy, with this year’s capital event set for June 10 around the 1.3km City of London circuit.
“It’s something we haven’t done before and we’re looking forward to it,” said the three-time Olympic team pursuit champion.
“It’s unique to race in complete darkness and I’m getting excited about it already.
“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.
“That in itself is a unique thing and it’s quite exciting.”
Clancy and his JLT Condor outfit will be racing around London against the best British and international teams in a little over five weeks’ time, with Rapha-sponsored Team Wiggins likely to pose some of their stiffest competition.
Another win for JLT Condor would make it three in a row, but Wiggins’ Chris Latham will be out to grab a first victory for his team, ahead of the second race in Copenhagen.
The Bolton rider raced his first Nocturne in 2016 and cannot wait to get back on London’s closed roads for what is billed as a festival of cycling featuring nine different races during the day, ahead of the night’s two elite races.
“It is carnage, crit racing, and then at night time it’s even worse, but I loved it last year,” said the world scratch race bronze medallist.
“It’s the last kilometre of a bunch sprint for the whole way round, the full hour. And when I finished last year I knew I’d love to do it again this year.
“It’s really good to see younger kids racing, too, and the different kind of bikes, it gets everyone involved – families can have a good day out.
“The Copenhagen race is pretty exciting too. I’d be really interested to do it, travel all around the world doing different crits – hopefully it can become bigger and bigger and it will end up on TV!”
The London event will feature a style race, penny farthing race, events for fixed gear riders as well as a folding bike race and a criterium for companies based in the City of London.
James Pope, CEO of Nocturne founders FACE Partnership, was on hand at the Rapha Clubhouse to launch the 11th London event, but also lay out his vision for the new Nocturne series
“Rapha were part of the original idea to create the Nocturne and 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.
And for Rapha founder and chief executive Simon Mottram, 2017 was the perfect time to rekindle his company’s relationship with the event and bring night-time criterium racing to cycling hotbeds around the world.
“It’s hard to remember what cycling was like ten years ago. It was a very niche activity and not something that thousands and thousands of people came together to look at,” he said.
“But over the last ten years it has moved and progressed. So now to be back and to do it in a much bigger way, just feels completely right.
“Rapha has grown massively in ten years too. We are now in a number of different countries around the world, and most of our sales are international.
“So we really want to go to some of those key cities. Starting with Copenhagen later this summer, but then going to places in Australia, the US, all over Europe, maybe even Japan, and put together a proper global series of events where we can combine racing and riding – ride all day and race all night.”Find out more about Rapha Nocturne Copenhagen.