PHOTO SPECIAL: Colne Cycling Grand Prix

COLNE played hosts to cycling greats as the thrills and spills of street racing came to town last night for the eighth year.

Olympic and world champions battled it out on an 800m street circuit through the historic market town. The race, part of Britain’s Elite Men’s Circuit Series, is held over 60 laps.

COLNE GRAND PRIX 2011: Youngsters from Cycle Sport Pendle.'Photo Ben Parsons

COLNE GRAND PRIX 2011: Youngsters from Cycle Sport Pendle.'Photo Ben Parsons

Pendle Council director of regeneration Mr Brian Cookson, who is also president of British Cycling, said: “Some of these riders could be representing Britain in the 2012 Olympics and you’re seeing them here first!”

For the first time, there was also an entertaining chopper bike dash with a Le Mans-style start in aid of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Trust and Cycle Sport Pendle.

Coun. Mike Blomeley, leader of Pendle Council, said: “Colne Grand Prix is the fastest and most exciting sporting event in Colne. And we’re delighted to welcome the UK’s top-racing cyclists.”

Local riders taking part in this year’s race included 2008 Colne Grand Prix winner Ian Wilkinson, from Barnoldswick, and Paul Oldham, from Trawden.

Colne’s Steven Burke, Olympic cycling medallist, added: “It’s great riding in front of a home crowd because they spur me on even more!”