ENGLAND’s top professional cyclists will return to Colne tonight for another evening of exciting bike racing in the town.

Britain’s best cyclists and teams will converge on Colne once again to contest the annual Colne Grand Prix.

The event is the fifth round of the British Cycling Elite Circuit Race Series, which is organised by Cycling Development North West in partnership with Pendle Borough Council.

The Colne Grand Prix is held on a very fast and tight circuit around the town centre.

It always attracts big crowds from across Lancashire and beyond as people come to experience an evening of non-stop action with riders hitting speeds of up to 40 mph.

Last year’s winner, Olympic champion Ed Clancy, is busy preparing to represent the Great Britain team at London 2012 so the Colne crowd will see a new winner this year.

Among the riders to look out for on the night will be current series leader Graham Briggs, of Team Raleigh-GAC, who has won three of the four rounds so far during 2012.

He will have to fight off competition from the likes of Dean Downing, of Rapha Condor Sharp, who was second in last year’s Colne Grand Prix and winner of the overall Elite Circuit Race Series in 2011.

There will be more than 70 cyclists in the main event including three East Lancashire riders – Simon Wilson, Sam Boast and Paul Oldham.

The Colne cyclone Steven Burke won’t race in his home event, however, as he focuses on going for gold in the team pursuit at the Olympics.

Racing will be contested over laps of a clockwise 850m circuit that will start and finish in Market Street. Riders turn into Craddock Road and continue into Post Office Yard before turning right into Walton Street and into Church Street before completing the lap.

It’s not just the professionals who will be in action though as earlier on in the evening a support race will feature up and coming riders.

There will also be an Olympic torch bearers’ parade and the popular Le Mans style Chopper Dash, which made its debut last year, will return in aid of North West Air Ambulance.