Lizzie Armitstead and Rebecca Romero were among 7,000 cyclists who turned out for the inaugural Daily Mirror Great Manchester Cycle on Monday June 4.
The closed roads sportive, the UK’s largest timed cycling event, featured three different distances (13, 26 and 52 miles) based around a 13-mile city centre loop.
“I spend a lot of time in Manchester and to be able to explore the city in this way is something I really wanted to do,” said Armitstead, who will start this summer’s women’s Olympic road race among the favourites.
“It was a fantastic day and something I was delighted to be a part of.”
Olympic individual pursuit gold medallist Rebecca Romero added: “This event is so great because it’s a big sporting event but it has closed roads and that’s unique.”
“For people who cycle recreationally, to have this kind of structured event with a timing chip and to have the route mapped out, is a great opportunity to test themselves.”
Starting at Eastlands, the home of Manchester City FC, riders were set off in waves, with British Cycling members leading the way. The route includes a section on the city’s most well known motorway, the Mancunian Way – normally off limits to cyclists.
David Hart, communications director of organisers Nova International, said: “We were thrilled with the reaction to the Great Manchester Cycle, which in its first year, has become the UK’s biggest timed cycling event.
“With the three distances, it was a celebration of cycling on the closed roads of Manchester to suit different levels of ability and we believe this event has a hugely exciting future.”