The Face Partnership, the guys behind the Revolution Series on the track, brought an evening of exciting, all-category and professional racing to Edinburgh tonight, in the shape of their successful The Edinburgh Nocturne format.
The circuit was based around the Grassmarket area of the city (see our preview here), and with plenty of restaurants and pubs lining the route, the beautiful evening had a particular festive feel to it.
The Elite Race
In the highlight Elite race which kicked off at a still-sunny 9pm ( it had been 27 degress earlier in the day) in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, the man the Scots call one of their own, Dave Millar (Garmin Slipstream) rode to a solo win over Kristian House (Rapha Condor) and his Australian teammate Cameron Meyer.
Millar’s form has been building gradually this year so far, and his work on the front of the Giro peloton in recent weeks leading the sprint out for Tyler Farrar demonstrates he’s pretty close to where he needs to be, with the Tour de France only a month away.
Millar envisaged a quiet first few laps to get into the rythm of the race, but admitted later that he got a bit carried-away with the crowds and their support for him, and he felt like a youngster all over again, ripping the race up from the front with Russ Downing and Kristian House.
There were a few skirmishes like this, but no-one was able to get the gap, at the front anyway – the rear of the bunch was a different story as rider after rider lost contact on the cobbled climb away from the Grassmarket up Victoria Street.
After just nine laps or so, the bunch had been whittled down to just 13 riders. Tom Southam and House from the Rapha squad were taking it in turns to try to get clear, but without success.
A couple of laps later, Meyer made his move past the start/finish line and powered up the climb, taking the right-hand bend at the top well clear.
Malcolm Elliot (Candi TV), Dan Craven and Southam were all prominent at the front of the chase group (we can’t call it a peloton anymore), but they weren’t making much headway into Meyer’s lead.
Suddenly, the next time up Victoria Street, Millar decided to jump out of the group, and in the space of just over a lap, had made contact with his teammate.
The earlier events had proved our suspicions that riders would be getting lapped all over the place, but in the Elite race this wasn’t so much of a problem the pro’s tended to climb off rather than plug on needlessly.
Nevertheless, it looked at one point as if the Garmin pair might just manage to lap everyone else in the race.
Rapha decided they weren’t going to let this happen, and upped their efforts at the front of the group.
When they got the gap down to around 25 seconds, they launched Kristian House on his own in pursuit.
Millar dropped Meyer to go on to win alone, whilst House made contact with Meyer and, perhaps surprisingly given Meyer’s track pedigree, easily outsprinted him for second place. Russ Downing escaped the group to grab fourth place.
Dave Millar took a celebration lap to soak up the big crowd’s applause, and did the winner’s hand-slapping all the way round. When he got his breath back, he said he was pleased with the win;
“Yep, really pleased. I really wanted it, and I had some Giro form out there.
“The course was beautiful — I loved it.
“It was hard and there weren’t any tactics really. I averaged 416 watts out there, and that’s pretty heavy. I was so proud out there in front of that crowd.”
Second placed Kristian House reckoned the course was “savage”;