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By Thomas Ough
Oxford’s busy St Giles and Magdalen Street were last week converted into a cycling track for the Halfords Tour series. Students awoke to discover the street cordoned off, with the 1.4 km course extending from the Martyrs’ Memorial to beyond St Giles Church, with spectators’ areas and a commentary box swiftly constructed.
It soon became apparent that this new, lycra-clad kid on the block was a noisy one, with loud commentary very much audible throughout the city centre. Disturbed engineer Pete Blenkharn commented that “while the display of gyroscopic machismo provided ample distraction from Trinity term exam woes, those who wished to remain in work mode were boisterously disturbed by a whooting moron wishing the audience to ‘make some noise’ while I was trying to revise some scintillating circuit analysis”.
Despite these loud exhortations, those spectating offered little other than smatterings of applause, but the event itself was a high-profile one. The country’s top ten professional cycling teams were all competing, this being the third leg of a nationwide touring event that will have taken in ten cities by its completion at the end of June. The Oxford event also saw Cambridge welcomed to St Giles for a Varsity cycling face-off. This time the Tabs came out on top, leading to suggestions that the Oxford cyclists were two-tired.
PHOTO// Tom Ough