HUNDREDS of cycling fans saw the rain clouds scatter as they witnessed elite cyclists compete in the Colne Grand Prix last night.

Despite a downpour earlier, a large crowd, many still clutching umbrellas and wearing raincoats, cheered the cyclists as they completed 850 metre laps through the historic town centre.

The evening kicked off at 7pm, when up-and-coming riders took part in the Sprint for Success race, sponsored by Simonstone firm Fort Vale Engineering.

The recently-renamed event saw company employees come out in force, including apprentice training manager, Alan Emerton.

Riders from several cycling clubs, including Manchester Wheelers, Pendle Forest, North Lancs Road Club and Harrogate Nova all took part.

The Sprint for Success was stopped for 10 minutes after one rider fell on the wet surface, near the Duke of Lancaster pub.

After being treated by workers from the British Red Cross, an ambulance entered the circuit and took him away for further treatment on injuries to his arm. Another rider fell later in the race, in the same spot.

After a fast and furious finish, Thomas Wood from Paul Milner Cycles/Bradford Olympic Racing Club finished just ahead of Lewis Craven from Wheelbase Altura.

In third place was PH-MAS Cycling's Robert Scott, who spent most of the race chasing the two leaders on his own.

They were presented with bouquets of flowers after the Cycle Sport Pendle Ride, which took place shortly before the Grand Prix, at 7.50pm.

Leader of Pendle Council, Joe Cooney, said passion for cycling in the area had reached new heights.

“We’re gearing up for cycling success in the Commonwealth Games too," he said. "Cyclists who’ve ridden the Colne Grand Prix, including last year’s winner Ed Clancy MBE and Pendle’s own Paul Oldham will be competing.”