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CYCLONE ORGANISERS CELEBRATE FESTIVAL'S PHENOMENAL SUCCESS.

FESTIVAL organisers are celebrating the phenomenal success of this year's Northern Rock Cyclone, England's largest cycling festival.

Some of the world's best professional cyclists were attracted to the region to battle it out for the Beaumont Trophy, which saw Bradley Wiggins pedalling to victory yesterday.

The Cyclone offered opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to compete - many of whom raised much-needed funds for their chosen charities, with a staggering 130,000 of miles cycled in aid of good causes.

Sponsored by Northern Rock as part of its ongoing sports and community investment programme, the festival kicked off in dynamic style on Friday with an evening of races, the Leazes Criteriums, in Leazes Park. Consisting of Novice, Youth, Senior and Elite races - with entries from some of cycling's best known professional teams - winners included Ian Wilkinson of Team Halfords Bike Hut, Dean Downing of Rapha Condor, and Chris Newton, also Rapha Condor.

The evening also incorporated a new event, the Cyclone Celebrity Challenge, which pitched seven celebrities against each other in a time trial race in a bid to raise money for their nominated charity.

Allison Curbishley snatched victory ahead of Geoff Thomas and Jeff Brown.

Festival organiser Peter Harrison said: "This year's event has seen a huge rise in participants and spectators from both inside and outside the region - demonstrating how popular cycling has become in this country.

"We're absolutely delighted that the Northern Rock Cyclone has grown to become the largest cycling festival in England and third biggest in the UK - next year we are aiming to take over the top spot."

CAPTION(S):

TROPHY WINNER Bradley Wiggins pedalling to victory in the Beaumont Trophy event yesterday.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 15, 2009
Words:280
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